PAX and its partners, Community Building Mitrovica (CBM) and UN-Habitat, have launched a major new programme to foster inclusive development and good governance in the divided region of northern Kosovo.
At a kick-off event in Pristina, participants included northern Kosovo mayors and civil society representatives, as well as Kosovan and international observers. Participants were welcomed by senior representatives of UN-Habitat, three central government ministries, and the Embassy of Sweden. Over the course of the day, the programme partners highlighted this unique initiative and the benefits it will bring to people in the north.
Each of Kosovo’s four northern municipalities has an ethnic Serb majority. For years, these municipalities have functioned in isolation from Albanian-majority municipalities to the south, and outside the broader governance framework of Kosovo. Consistent with agreements struck by Kosovo and Serbia since 2011, the integration of these municipalities presents an unprecedented opportunity to effectively address the unmet needs of citizens in the northern region, promote good relations between Kosovo’s main communities, and contribute to Kosovo’s long-term stability.
The joint programme launched by PAX and its partners represents innovative collaboration between local and international civil society organizations and a UN agency. Working together, and with financial support from the Swedish International Development Agency, the programme partners will:
- Provide critical duty-bearers in the northern municipalities with technical assistance to develop local municipal planning and management capacities in line with Kosovo frameworks
- Strengthen genuine local democratic responsiveness and accountability, to ensure planning and service delivery decisions reflect public priorities, thereby strengthening state-citizen relations
- Support northern municipalities to work with each other to achieve efficiencies, and build mutual confidence with Kosovo institutions based in Pristina
The inception phase of the joint programme runs for 12 months, with a broader 2-year programme portfolio expected to scale-out in the fall of 2017.
PAX has been active in Kosovo since before the 1998-99 war, with a long-standing commitment to promoting peace and dialogue between communities in the north. One of its key partners in this joint programme, CBM, began as a PAX project for inter-communal peacebuilding in the divided city of Mitrovica.
PAX and CBM will be responsible for delivering the programme outcome associated with strengthening the social contract, by boosting civil society’s capacity to demand local government responsiveness and accountability and institutionalize processes for dialogue and cooperation at local level.
“Improving the quality and legitimacy of local governance is heavily dependent on a robust civil society,” PAX’s Inge Baanders told event participants. “An innovative element of this programme is that it supports both the supply of and the demand for better governance, a mutually-reinforcing dynamic that we believe will deliver tangible benefits for people in northern Kosovo.”