Reform Cooperation with Kosovo

The overall objective of the Swedish development cooperation with Kosovo is to facilitate EU integration. EU-integration is crucial to Kosovo’s pursuit of democracy, rule of law and openness, as well as sustainable economic development. The Swedish reform cooperation is focused on the following result areas: 1) Enhanced economic integration with the EU and development of market economy, 2) Strengthened democracy, greater respect for human rights and a more fully developed state under the rule of law, 3) A better environment reduced climate impact and enhanced resilience to environmental impact and climate change.

Economic Development

Sweden is supporting International Business College of Mitrovica (IBCM), which is a multi-ethnic higher vocational institution. The purpose of the college is to improve employability through producing professional civil servants and business leaders with practical skills, who are used to working in multi-ethnic teams and that has knowledge about doing business with the EU. Sweden is also preparing additional support to economic development with a focus on small and medium enterprises.

Democratic Governance and Human Rights

Sweden is preparing for future cooperation with the Office of Prime Minister, and with an extra support to the Agency for Gender Equality. Enhanced efficiency and transparency is vital parts of a democratic and well-functioning public administration and reforms acquired for an EU-membership. This support is canalised through Kosovo’s own institutions with the objective to increase ownership and sustainability.

A wide support is also given to the property administration sector. The results regarding property taxation has been excellent and during the last two years the municipal revenues have increased from an input value of 8, 3 million Euro in 2007 to 14, 3 million Euro 2012, an increase of 75 %. The revenues have been invested in improved public service e.g. schools and infrastructure. The project was expanded in 2014 to also include land tax. A large support is also given to the statistical sector, and the most recent contribution was to ensure that the Kosovo Census in April 2011 was conducted according to international standards.

Within the education sector Sweden provides support to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through a pool fund jointly with other donors. The support is directed towards supporting the ministry to effectively implement its strategic plan for educational reform 2011-2016 and to strengthen the ministry’s capacity to do so.

Furthermore Swedish support is given to strengthen the ability of the civil society to participate actively in current developments in the society. This had been made through supporting the ability to monitor and debate democracy and human rights. Free and independent media is supported through several programs. Swedish support has for example facilitated the possibility for minority groups to listen to news in their mother tongue. Extensively this has contributed to enhanced possibilities to access to information and extended possibilities for minorities to take part in the public life in Kosovo.

One focus of this contribution is gender equality. The focus is mainly to increase women’s participation in decision making processes, lobbying around the gender based violence issue and the cooperation between women from different ethnical groups. Sweden has also supported the study Kosovo Country Gender Profile, which stakes out many important challenges that Kosovo needs to address to reach EU:s member-state level. Minority rights are supported through many different program and Sweden is actively working to draw attention to LGBT-rights.

Swedish support contributed to the writing of Kosovo Memory Book, which has registered all victims in the Kosovo War 1998-2000.

To help improve stability in Kosovo, Sweden supports implementation of the status settlement plan, e.g. by contributing to preserve the country's cultural heritage through
Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB’s). Their vision is that cultural heritage is a natural and active force in reconciliation, social and economic development and in the strengthening of human rights. As a result CHwB’s Kosovo office has become a legitimate and trusted voice on cultural heritage issues in the country.

Environment and Climate

Sweden has sustainable development as its main objective when supporting the spatial planning and the environmental plans in Kosovo. Regarding the support to spatial planning Sweden has, together with twelve of Kosovo's municipalities, financed a project that supports the preparation of municipal development plans. Regarding the environmental strategy and action plan the purpose is to assist Kosovo in the handling of long term ecological and climate related problems and to make sure that they are handled in a way that matches the EU regulations. This support involves improvement of the environment planning, increasing the local environment investments and improving the environmental management system, at both central and municipal level.

Another part of the Swedish support is strengthening a sustainable private and decentralised forestry. The main objectives are to increase the productivity of the forestry, give positive environmental effects and create work opportunities. To accomplish that the support focuses on a support to decentralise the forestry administration, assisting local NGOs for private forest owners and support the regional cooperation. Sweden also supports energy diversification in Kosovo through support to central heating and initiatives to environmentally friendly heating systems.

The process of closer ties between the EU and the Western Balkans is being implemented within the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP), which is the common EU policy framework for the Western Balkans. The aim of the SAP is to create the conditions for the countries of the Western Balkans to become members of the EU.  Reform cooperation will gradually be phased out as the individual countries become democratically and economically closer to the EU. The strategy for reform cooperation with Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey 2014-2020 therefore has a perspective above and beyond development assistance.