The project Support to Minority Communities during and after the Decentralisation Process has ended. All foreseen activities implemented, reports ECMI Kosovo.
Over a period of three years, ECMI Kosovo has implemented the project Support to Minority Communities during and after the Decentralisation Process.
The goal of the project was to further the socioeconomic and political inclusion of Kosovo’s communities by supporting the municipal institutions and local communities in the field of local economic development.
According to the latest ECMI Kosovo newsletter, “ECMI Kosovo and its partners managed to implement all foreseen activities in Serb majority municipalities and contributed to a successful decentralization process in Kosovo, for the benefit of local communities”.
5-7 October 2012; Training workshop for municipal officials and business representatives from the new Serb majority municipalities on local economic development. From left: Adrian Zeqiri, Jeremie Zeitoun, Mentor Nimani, Besa Zogaj. Photo: ECMI Kosovo.
Taking only 2013, the project has materialized in a range of activities and results, out of which the following are highlights.
Report on Socioeconomic Conditions
In January, ECMI Kosovo presented a report on Socioeconomic Conditions in Northern Kosovo. A conference organized in Prishtina framed the presentation.
The report was based on a questionnaire administered to 721 respondents in Mitrovica North, Leposavić/Leposaviq, Zubin Potok and Zvečan/Zveqan to identify the population’s perceptions, needs and concerns on the following socioeconomic issues: Healthcare, Education, Social Welfare and Employment. Northern Kosovo is mainly populated by Serbs.
Policy paper on minority entrepreneurship
In May, ECMI Kosovo published the policy paper Minority Entrepreneurship in Kosovo: Opportunities and Challenges.
The policy paper aimed to highlight the challenges faced by ‘Small and Medium Enterprises’ owned or managed by members of Kosovo’s minority communities and vulnerable and marginalized groups. It also provided recommendations for the enterprises’ effective integration into the larger Kosovar business environment.
The paper was released on the day of the official launch of the Association of Serb Entrepreneurs (ASP). This association was established with the support of ECMI Kosovo to contribute to the integration of the Serb business community into broader Kosovo networks.
Information bulletins on Kosovo local elections
In October, November and December 2013, ECMI Kosovo published a series of three information bulletins respectively analyzing the (a.) pre-election situations and the major issues at stake for minority communities, the (b.) results of the first election round, and the (c.) final results of the elections, together with their impact for Serb-majority municipalities.
The bulletins were also based on ECMI Kosovo’s short-term observation mission conducted in the field on the day of the elections.
Report on the repatriation and reintegration process
In December, ECMI Kosovo published a report to document the repatriation and reintegration process in Kosovo.
Repatriated persons are often not aware of the services allocated to them due to a lack of awareness about the process. Since 2012, steps have been taken to raise awareness; however, issues still exist at central and local levels.
Hence, the report The Repatriation Process in Kosovo addressed the institutions within the government that assist with repatriation at both the local and central levels. The report also concentrated on the policy instruments adopted, such as the Strategy for the Reintegration of Repatriated Persons, the Action Plan on the Implementation of the Strategy for Reintegration of Repatriated Persons, as well as addressing the regulation management of the programme.
Handbook on local economic development
In December, ECMI Kosovo published a legal handbook for municipal officials with the English title Local Economic Development in Kosovo’s Newly-Established Municipalities.
The handbook provided an overview and assessment of the central and local level legal framework in five newly established municipalities of Kosovo, related to local economic development; land use and expropriation; registration, inspection and taxation of private enterprises; and issues related to publicly-owned enterprises, public property and public services.
The munipalities were Gračanica/Graçanicë, Klokot/Kllokot, Novo Brdo/Novobërdë, Parteš/Partesh, and Ranilug/Ranillug.
The objective of this handbook was to help municipal officials from minority communities in their attempt to develop, formulate, and implement business conductive policies at the local level.
Operation and funding
Support to Minority Communities during and after the Decentralisation Process is administered by ECMI and implemented by ECMI Kosovo. The project is made possible by financial support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the report on Socioeconomic Conditions in Northern Kosovo was realized with the joint support of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“Socioeconomic conditions in Northern Kosovo” released by ECMI Kosovo
About ECMI Kosovo
ECMI Kosovo became active in Kosovo as a field office of European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) in 2001.
After Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, ECMI Kosovo became a locally registered NGO in July of that same year, while maintaining its co-operation with ECMI and thus continuing to benefit from international oversight, specialized expertise and comparative experiences.
ECMI Kosovo’s vision is a stable multi-ethnic Kosovo in which the human and minority rights of members from all communities are realized in line with domestic and international standards.
With a view to contributing to this vision, ECMI Kosovo engages in a wide range of activities aimed at stabilizing inter-ethnic relations and ensuring the effective implementation and functioning of the legal, policy and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of minority rights.