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Sida's work in Kosovo

Approximately one third of Kosovo’s population lives in poverty, making the country one of Europe’s poorest. Sida’s support for human rights, democratisation and sustainable development is intended to create the conditions for this young nation to strengthen ties with the European Union.

Sida’s support to Kosovo 2020

Progress has been made

Highest growth in the region

Kosovo has consistently had the highest economic growth in the region.

Improvements for human rights

International conventions on human rights, gender equality and nondiscrimination have been enshrined in the Kosovan constitution.

More money for schools and health care

A new tax act introduced in 2018 provides more money to important public-sector services such as schools and healthcare.

Challenges remain

Economy are unequal

From a development perspective, the country’s economic growth has not contributed to social justice nor benefited the most vulnerable members of society.

Widespread violence against women

Gender-based violence and human rights violations remain pervasive.

Corruption is on the rise

Kosovo is one of Europe’s most corrupt countries and corruption is on the rise.

Development cooperation in Kosovo

Kosovo, which is approximately the same size as the Swedish county of Skåne, is Europe’s youngest country, having celebrated a decade of independence in 2018. Several countries do not recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state, including neighbouring Serbia.

Relations between the two countries remain infected. Society is marked by poverty and patriarchal structures, with high unemployment and widespread discrimination and violence against women.

EU membership and economic development

Kosovo’s wish to join the European Union enjoys strong public support. Important progress was made in 2015 when the EU signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Kosovo; however, the road to becoming a Member State is long.

Improved working conditions

Kosovo has high unemployment and a labour market characterised to a large extent by discrimination and patriarchal structures. Together with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Sida is working to promote dignified working conditions and safe jobs.

Easier to start a business

Many women and young people are excluded from the labour market. Sida therefore supports Innovation Centre Kosovo, the purpose of which is to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation and create jobs.

About the program at Innovation Centre Kosovo’s web site

Democracy and human rights

Kosovo is a politically unstable country that has experienced several crises of government in a short period of time. The country is also one of the most corrupt in Europe, being ranked 101st out of 198 countries in transparency index 2019.

Statistics: Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2019.

Strengthens civil society

There are few opportunities for the citizens of Kosovo to make their voices heard. By working with the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), Sida contributes to training and strengthening the country’s civil society organisations.

About Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF)

A step towards EU

Despite the fact that both the Government and Opposition are in favour of EU membership, many feel that the necessary reforms are not being implemented quickly enough. Sida supports the GAP Institute for Advanced Studies, a Kosovan think tank dedicated to good governance that conducts research and offers policy recommendations designed to bring Kosovo closer to the EU.

About the GAP Institute for Advanced Studies

Gender-equality perspective in laws

Kosovo is a patriarchal society and, despite good legislation, it is permeated by a severe lack of gender equality and female representation on the labour market and in decision-making roles. Sida’s support for the Agency for Gender Equality contributes to the organisation’s efforts to bring a gender-equality perspective to bear on national policies and frameworks.

About the Agency for Gender Equality

Environment and climate change

Kosovo is wrestling with enormous environmental problems; electricity production is almost entirely dependent on coal-fired power stations and illegal logging is causing erosion of the landscape. There are also deficiencies in the handling of waste and wastewater. As Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, it is not covered by international initiatives to reduce climate change and environmental problems.

Increased protection for biological diversity

Kosovo’s environmental legislation is not fit for purpose. Through a collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Sida contributes to training stakeholders at state and municipal level in environmental issues. The objective is environmental legislation in line with EU directives. This support also contributes to increased protection for biodiversity and improved management of nature reserves.

For sustainable forestry diversity

Illegal logging is a major environmental problem in Kosovo. Sida supports Connecting Natural Values with People – an organisation that supports local forestry associations of rural residents in order to achieve the sustainable, decentralised use of forest resources.

About Connecting Natural values with People

Updated: 23 April 2021