The conflict of 1999 has been not only affecting Kosovo political, economic, environmental and social setting, but also impacting urban conditions in various ways. Post-conflict migration brought many people to cities in the search for jobs, better living conditions and safer environment. Large number of Kosovo citizens commute daily to cities from rural areas for work or education or services. Since then Kosovo has been facing an unprecedented construction boom, growth of urban areas and a continuous degradation of environment. If Kosovo has made important progress over this period toward democratic governance, a market economy, and European integration, yet enduring challenges remain on its path to stability and inclusive development.
In that context, UN-Habitat has been promoting from the start, good governance, security of tenure, sustainable human settlements development and inclusive spatial planning in Kosovo and the broader region. UN-Habitat’s interventions were focused on the establishment of institutions to deal with property and planning issues, such as the Housing and Property Directorate, the Kosovo Cadastre Agency, and the Institute for Spatial Planning within the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning. The other line of interventions went to strengthening capacities for efficient management of local governments through capacity building programmes and on-the-job assistance with respect, specifically but not limited to, local governance, spatial planning, urban mobility, cultural heritage and environment protection, public space development and improvement of urban conditions for citizens.
To date, UN-Habitat still provides institutional support for spatial planning through participatory and inclusive approaches and contributes to the improvement of the built environment in Kosovo, through joint Capital Investment Projects with partner municipalities and communities.
In addition, continuous normative work is being conducted through the legislative framework development, curricula and training development, and policy-making in line with the New Urban Agenda (2016) and the Sustainable Development Agenda, notably its Urban Goal on sustainable cities and communities.
UN-Habitat presence in Kosovo for the past 20 years has allowed the programme to create a diversity of partnerships with key stakeholders, firstly with the central and municipal institutions since UN-Habitat has been focusing on enabling state and institutions building, and institutional coordination and cooperation between the different levels vertically and horizontally. In-house project development and local-tailored methodologies and tools, aiming to further enhance the local planning capacities, was also fueled with dedicated partnership with universities and exposure to international good practices.
By empowering and bringing in the civil society and communities, and partnering smartly with the civil society, the Kosovo programme has also been contributing to develop more responsive solutions, policies and plans and ensuring their effective participation in various decision-making processes impacting their lives.
The UN-Habitat team consists of professionals from a variety of fields with background in architecture, urban planning, geography, civil engineering, law, economy, gender, etc. This group of professionals provides a range of expertise, experiences and practices that support the public sector, municipalities, the civil society and communities and other stakeholders to promote, develop and implement policies, tools and activities in support of sustainable urban and environmental development and management of Kosovo towns and villages. We all stand ready to address related challenges and opportunities together for a better urban future in Kosovo.