Municipal Spatial Planning Support Programme (Nov. 2011 – Nov 2014)

Why urban and spatial planning is important
Kosovo, like many other countries all over the world, needs to find its way to deal with urbanisation in order to make this global trend conducive to sustainable development, which combines economic and social development with the protection of natural environment. The military conflict of 1999 marked the history of Kosovo and its people, and affected political and economic setting. Post-conflict migration brought many people to cities in the search for jobs, better living conditions and safer environment. Results of the 2011 census in Kosovo show that out of almost 1.8 million citizens, 45% live in cities and towns. This however is not a full picture, as a large number of Kosovo citizens commute daily to cities from rural areas for work or education. This puts a heavy burden on city administrations to secure proper services, well designed and developed residential areas, roads and transportation networks, health, education and recreation facilities.  
To deal with these issues efficiently, municipalities need long term plans to guide their spatial and economic expansion in a sustainable way. This requires a well defined balance between economic and social development as well as the protection of natural environment and an efficient use of land. At the beginning of 2012, sixteen out of thirty-seven Kosovo municipalities had their Municipal Development Plans (MDPs) approved, while others were in the process of drafting MDPs or relied on old masterplans. Despite the fact that some of the larger cities have their MDPs ready, the implementation of these plans remains a challenge both in terms of funds and political will. Without a clear development vision and secured budgetary framework, urban development will continue to be haphazard and fail to respond to the needs of citizens.   
Like many new democracies, Kosovo has been facing a number of problems and challenges, many of them related to the task of bridging the past with the present and looking towards EU integration in the future. In the Kosovo context this means the transition from the mainly rural areas, dominated by small and medium sized cities to fast growing urban centres seen also as economic hubs. 

Contents of the programme
The third phase of the Municipal Spatial Planning Support Programme (MuSPP) was launched in November 2011 and is scheduled to last for three years. The Programme is implemented by UN-Habitat with the funds provided by the government of Sweden. MuSPP continues to support twelve Kosovo municipalities in the consolidation of urban and spatial planning through a participatory and gender-equal process and in the implementation of plans as instruments guiding local development. Capital investment projects resulting from this planning process and developed jointly by partner municipalities and the Programme will lead to improved living conditions and urban environment. The implemented projects will also show plans and ideas are turned into reality. With the focus on on-the-job assistance and using learning-by-doing as the key capacity building method, MuSPP aims at strengthening capacities of municipal counterparts and other stakeholders for a strategic planning approach. It intends to enhance and promote inter-municipal cooperation both within Kosovo and in the broader Balkan region. It also aims to cooperate with the central level institutions dealing with spatial planning, environmental protection and local governance to provide assistance to the partner municipalities.   

The motto of the MuSPP, “Making Better Cities Together”, means that planning local development belongs not only to professionals but also to business community and the community at large, represented by different social and age groups, men and women, boys and girls. The current phase of MuSPP builds on the work of previous phases which were focussed on assisting partner municipalities in drafting municipal and urban development plans. At present, most of these municipalities are in the process of implementing their MDPs through regulatory plans and capital investments. In many cases the engagement of private or donor funding will determine the success of such undertakings.

Partner Municipalities
The twelve partner municipalities include those which participated in the earlier stages of the Programme as well as those which have joined more recently when the third phase of MuSPP was formulated. The list of partner municipalities includes: Ferizaj/Urosevac, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Mitrovica, Peja/Pec, Prizren, Junik, Hani i Elezit/General Jankovic, Mamusha/Mamusa, Gracanice/Gracanica, Partesh/Partes, Malisheve/Malisevo and Rahovec/Orahovac.

The components of MuSPP
Support to smaller and medium-sized municipalities in the process of drafting MDPs and developing capital projects 
Experience of MuSPP gained in the earlier phases of the Programme showed that Kosovo municipalities are able to develop Municipal Development Plans on their own if this becomes a  priority of municipal political leaders and if technical support to municipal staff is provided. Support to the new partners  Mamusha, Gracanica, Partesh and Malishevo in drafting MDPs and UDPs will be continued and matched with capacity building.  Quality advice will be given to municipalities which outsource the drafting of plans, e.g. in the case of Rahovec/Orahovac. However, in this phase a stronger emphasis will be placed on the environmental and sustainability components throughout the drafting process. The analysis of the existing situation will be reinforced through the application of a systematic method for sustainability assessment, including the methodology for Sustainable Development Assessments developed by Sida.
The planning process will also be integrated, where appropriate, and as far as possible with the preparation of Local Environmental Action Plans (LEAPs). This will be undertaken in conjunction with the Regional Environmental Centre (REC) or equivalent organization and mechanisms for joint project management will be developed. The process will also link to the National Environmental Strategy. To meet the requirements of legislation, MuSPP will provide by Strategic Environmental Assessment experts in order to assess environmental impact by the spatial planning.  Public participation and gender-sensitive perspective will be components components of the Programme’s support.
Support to the implementation of plans in MuSPP2 partner municipalities.
MuSPP will also provide continued support to the “old” partner municipalities, which have already adopted their plans: Ferizaj/Urosevac, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Peja/Pec, Prizren, Mitrovica, Junik, Hani i Elezit/General Jankovic. The focus will be on the issues related to spatial and urban planning and management, informal settlements and the environment. Taking into consideration the disparities between the municipalities in terms of their structure, size and capacity, a tailor-made approach will be adopted, but a focus on sustainable development and the environment will be the backbone of the activities in all these municipalities. This will also mean further consideration of the environment and overall sustainability issues and their linkages to impact assessments and integration with LEAPs.
Sector studies, for instance related to waste management, energy and climate change accompanied by demonstration projects/CIPs, will make a substantive part of the MuSPP. Initiatives aimed at economic development and job creation will be supported when in line with the objectives of the programme. Further emphasis will be put on integrating municipal development and financial planning. “Softer” issues related to gender equity, public participation and social inclusion will be incorporated in both planning activities and development of capital projects. In this case, cooperation with the civil society will be most important. Informal Settlements remain one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, and efforts to address this issue from the urban planning as well as social and human rights perspectives will continue. At the local level, the assistance is needed for the Departments of Urbanism in drafting Urban Regulatory Plans for these areas, which would provide for the regularisation of space, legalisation of constructions and improvement of the quality of life. Finally this component places emphasis on good governance and municipal institutional development as well as capacity building of staff and political office bearers.
Proposed capital projects will be assessed through an environmental impact lens to ensure an added value to sustainable local development.

Support to central level institutions
MuSPP will provide continued support to government and central level institutions dealing with policies, norms and standards related to spatial and urban planning, informal settlements, urban management and the environment. In more practical terms this component will entail demand driven support to central government and other institutions, primarily to the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (MESP) and to the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) in areas with direct linkages to municipal planning and development. The results and experiences gained during the implementation of MuSPP provide an excellent base for this, for example for the assessment and further development of the existing legislative framework for municipal planning and development. The advisory support will, as in the previous phases, be subject to initiatives and leadership by the Ministry.
The support will focus on strategic and methodological development within the areas of spatial planning and the environment, aiming at the promotion of sustainable development. Assistance to the preparation of basic planning publications such as guidelines, primers or manuals/handbooks and organisation of workshops/seminars might form part of the activities, which all should have a strong link to the activities in partner municipalities.
The activities will also deal with building and development control in theory and practice. An important part thereof would be the support in developing housing policies and strategies, focusing on informal settlements. Linking up municipal work to the work on the National Environmental Strategy and the Kosovo Environmental Action Plan (KEAP) will also be an appropriate subject area. Other thematic areas, where the cooperation with the Ministry would be of vital importance  relate to urban policies, urban planning, minimum data requirements for MDPs and should link more closely to the policies for solid waste management, transport as well as protection of natural resources including land, water and air. 

Expected result
It is expected that this support will lead to increased capacity and institutional strengthening of the municipalities for performing their responsibilities related to integrated spatial and urban planning. It will help them plan development in a sustainable way and thereby improve the living conditions of all residents in the municipalities, promoting social cohesion, gender equity and helping to reduce poverty.
The planned outcomes are as follows:

  • MuSPP partner municipalities equipped with strategic planning documents such as MDPs, UDPs, URPs  
  • Established Spatial and urban planning processes, as a vehicle for increased transparency in decision-making processes through public participation
  • Spatial/Urban planning well perceived, by the decision makers and the new developments occurred based on the approved plans.
  • Awareness raised and best practices applied with regard to sustainable development amongst citizens, officials and private sector practitioners.
  • Manuals/handbooks developed and used in support of effective/efficient spatial and urban planning services leading to sustainable development and application of good governance principles
  • Improved physical environment as a result of planning processes and CIP implementation.
  • Increased capacities on the development of methods for transparent planning and design as well as in joint project.
  • Gender perspective integrated at all levels and in all facets of urban and spatial planning and management.

Lessons learned and peer learning, as capacity building tools

Sharing ideas on the organisational structures, procedures and processes is one of the ways how municipalities can improve their operations while drawing from the experience of their colleagues.

Inter-municipal professional exchange will be facilitated through site visits, study tours, meetings, workshops and other events aimed to bring together professionals working at the local and central level. International experience will be part of this programme.
The experience gained during the implementation of the earlier phases of MuSPP shows that a stronger focus on the monitoring of plan implementation is needed. Developing appropriate indicators, which would allow for the assessment of projects in terms of their impact on local sustainable development, quality of citizens life, business empowerment and natural environment is needed to support the revision of MDPs in some of partner municipalities, due in during the term of MuSPP. 
The engagement of MuSPP during the two earlier phases of the programme, allowed municipal staff in partner municipalities to gain practical planning experience as well as to develop effective methods of involving elected officials, professionals and civil society members in the planning process. The programme will replicate these methods in its work with smaller partner municipalities as well as in the activities aimed at developing cooperation between municipalities.

Other areas of MuSPP Activities
Although the focus of MuSPP is on the development, implementation and revision of municipal and urban plans, in practical terms it involves the integration of a broader spectrum of inter-related issues. These include for example: accessibility and aesthetic quality of public spaces, preservation of historic and natural heritage through development control and regulatory planning,  Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Municipal and Urban Development Plans, support to disaster risk assessment and management, promotion of public and non-motorised transport, sector studies related to specific fields such as water and waste management, improvement of safety as well as awareness raising activities on all these issues.  Support to municipalities and the central level bodies in addressing Informal Settlements will be given further attention and linkages to local housing strategies will be explored.

The way we work
MuSPP is focussed on daily cooperation and on-the-job assistance to municipal staff. The programme operates through its field offices located in Ferizaj/Urosevac, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Peja/Pec, Mitrovica, Prizren, Junik, Mamushë/Mamusa, Hani i Elezit/General Jankovic, Malishevë/Malisevo, Partesh/Partes and Graçanicë/Gracanica. Support to Rahovec/Orahovac is channelled through the Prishtina and Prizren offices.  MuSPP municipal staff is composed of Kosovar experienced planners, who assist the municipalities in the planning activities and in the development of capital investment projects in a participatory, inclusive and action oriented manner. Support to MuSPP municipal staff on planning processes including quality control of the plans, public participation, gender mainstreaming, legal issues and information and communication is provided by the Prishtina office. International planning officers, advisors and consultants are part of the MuSPP team and provide direct support to MuSPP field teams. Support of UN-Habitat’s Headquarters in Nairobi is also provided for.  
MuSPP is working closely with civil society organisations and informal citizens’ groups at strengthening their capacities to participate in the urban and spatial planning process as well as in project design, implementation and monitoring.  Cross-cutting issues such as gender perspective, human rights, social inclusion and public participation will be incorporated in all activities of the Programme. 

Key Partners in Kosovo-wide Planning Context

  • Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (MESP) consists of Department of Spatial Planning, Institute of Spatial Planning, Department of Environment, Department of Construction and Housing - the main counterpart at the central level
  • Ministry of Infrastructure (MI) – partner for transport and mobility issues;
  • Ministry of Local Government Administration (MLGA) – partner for local governance issues
  • Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) with the Collegium on Spatial Planning - platform for promoting new urban policies, share information and experiences;
  • Prime Minister’s Office for Good Governance (PMOGG) – partner for good governance, equal rights and gender issues;
  • UN agencies within United Nations Kosovo Team (UNKT), European Union (EU)  and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – partners for joint activities or programming;
  • United Nations Mission in Kosovo  (UNMIK) - partner for UN Strategic Framework
  • UN-Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi – for substantive and administrative support 
  • European Commission funded projects – partner for cooperation on planning, governance and environmental issues
  • Cultural Heritage without Boarders (CHwB), Regional Environmental Centre (REC)/Local Environmental Action Plans (LEAP), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Civil society organisations, NGOs, - international and local partners in the planning process and project development NGOs
  • University of Prishtina, Kosovo Cadastre Agency and its municipal offices – partners for specific aspects of planning 

UN-Habitat’s Mandate
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the United Nations Agency mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. In the light of rapid global urbanisation, the strategic vision of UN-Habitat offers a way forward for achieving this full-spectrum agenda, by targeting means for implementing programmes and projects in a proper and practical relationship to global priorities and Millennium Development Goals. Achieving sustainable development and alleviating poverty require the integration of economic, social and political objectives into a coherent overall framework. As part of UN-Habitat’s Global Campaign on Urban Governance, engagement of civil society in the decision-making process and consensus building for issues of local development is one of the key principles of the Municipal Spatial Planning Support Programme.

UN-HABITAT in Kosovo
Throughout its presence in Kosovo and the broader region since 1999, UN-Habitat has been promoting good governance, security of tenure, equal participation of men and women in the development of sustainable human settlements and inclusive spatial planning. UN-Habitat’s initial interventions were focussed on the establishment of institutions to deal with property issues such as the Housing and Property Directorate and the Kosovo Cadastre Agency and on building capacities for efficient management of local governments through successive programmes.
The UN-Habitat capacity building programmes: Local Government Programme (LoGo) and Municipal Support Programme (2001), the Urban Planning and Management Programme (UPMP, 2002-2003), the Governance and Development Planning Programme (GDPP, 2003-2006), the Municipal Spatial Planning Support Programme (MuSPP 1, 2005-2008 and MuSPP 2, 2008-2011) have helped to develop, anchor and institutionalise a new planning system and strengthen capacities of professionals dealing with spatial and urban planning at the local and central level.

Contact Information
UN-Habitat Kosovo
Ministries Building “Rilindja”
10000 Prishtina, Kosovo
Phone: +381 38 20032611
Fax: +381 38 224122


UN-HABITAT Pristina Office:

Ministries Building "Rilindja", 10th Floor
10000 Prishtina, Kosovo
Phone: +381 38 200 32611
Fax: +381 38 224 122

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