About us

UN-HABITAT in Kosovo


Since the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, UN-HABITAT has been promoting 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, the Institute for Spatial Planning within the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning. The other line of interventions went to building capacities for efficient management of local governments through capacity building programmes and on the job assistance: LoGo (Local Government Programme), and Municipal Support Programme (MSP 2000-2001), Urban Planning and Management Programme (UPMP, 2001-2003), the Governance and Development Planning Programme (GDPP, 2003-2006), Municipal Spatial Planning Support Programme phase 1, (2005-2008) phase 2, (2008-2011), and the ongoing phase 3, (2011-2014). The programmes were funded respectively by the Government of the Netherlands (MSP, UPMP, GDPP) and the Swedish Government through Sida (MuSPP1, MuSPP2 and MuSPP3). (More information on MuSPP3 under Programmes).

Through these combined interventions, a new planning system has been developed, anchored and institutionalised.
Building sustainable capacity for inclusive planning is a prerequisite for accession to the European Union. UN-HABITAT has engaged with various countries in the South East European region on urbanisation policy advice and technical cooperation in the past years. To support SEE countries in furthering reforms in the areas of Housing and Urban Development and to assist in the EU integration process, UN-HABITAT, in cooperation with the Stability Pact and in close consultation with the governments in the Western Balkans was contributing to regional meetings


Kosovo has been facing an unprecedented construction boom and growth of urban areas. This is partly a consequence of the war-time destruction of housing stock, the post-war migration in search of better and /or safer living conditions and employment, and well as the global urbanization trend.

Cities in their former boundaries are unable to provide space for new investments, which leads to unplanned and uncontrolled urban developments. Informal settlements become a common sight on the city outskirts, illegal constructions are raised, the access to services although improving over time is still not satisfactory. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Kosovo in 2008 puts on Kosovo’s institutions responsibility for building democratic and law-abiding structures, passing supporting legislature and building capacities of civil servants. This relates also to spatial development and gradual adoption of European standards and international principles for sustainable urbanization and good urban governance. The resolution of property issues and incorporation of informal settlements in local development plans continue to be an important factor in creating sustainable urban settlements in Kosovo.

A new planning system – outputs

New philosophy in planning and a new legislation

Planning for sustainable future of Kosovo required new planning system and legislation, institutions and practices. In response to this, over years, UN-HABITAT provided technical support in drafting a new legal framework for planning; assisting the post-conflict transition from the former centralised, top-down planning system towards an inclusive, participatory and multi-disciplinary approach to planning. This planning approach takes into account specific needs of various social groups and is focused on participation, transparency and accountability.  Working at the same time with the central and local levels, the University, and civil society organisations, and developing adequate legislation, was a unique and comprehensive approach, which allowed the anchoring of the process among these institutions.

Strengthening municipal planning capacities to develop and regulate the cities in an inclusive and transparent manner

Managing new planning system and putting it in practice needs human resources and capacity strengthening.

With this in mind, over the last 12 years  UN-HABITAT conducted a series of capacity building programmes. Local planners, working in the urbanism and planning departments of all municipalities across Kosovo were trained in applying a new inclusive, strategic and action-oriented approach to municipal and urban development planning in accordance with the new Law on Spatial Planning and in line with international principles for good urban governance.

Recognising the value of practical on-the-job support, both the first and the second phase of the Municipal Spatial Planning Support Programme has focused on the direct professional advice to partner municipalities. Initially the focus was on the support to drafting municipal and urban development plans, while now the core assistance is directed at the implementation of the adopted plans and the development of capital projects. The on-going on-the-job assistance to municipal planning bodies and direct advice to the development and implementation of spatial and urban plans at the local level is regarded as a vehicle to consolidating good urban governance practices in the partner municipalities.

Engaging civil society in planning processes
Understanding strategic planning, being able to advocate for citizens priorities, learning about budgeting, and how citizens can get involved in it, are the basis of participatory inclusive planning. Inclusion of all relevant stakeholders in the planning process is not only an element of good governance, but also the means for ensuring funding for projects and major investments. Therefore, UN-HABITAT has been  working together with civil society organisations, decision makers and municipal planners to build a common understanding of the planning process and prepare civil society organisations with a focus on NGO’ s representing youth, ethnic minorities, and woman, for participation in dialogues and public debates and engagement as partners in strategic projects.

New planning system requires a new generation of planners

Education and development of human capital is crucial for the continued building of democratic institutions and practices in Kosovo. Through cooperation with European Universities, UN-HABITAT helped the University of Prishtina to develop the curriculum for the Master’s Programme in Urban Planning and Management, the first ever such programme at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. While the initiation of the master's programme is still pending, Kosovo students and young professionals take part in exchange programmes funded by the European Union. Urban planning is one of such areas. Young urban planners from Kosovo attended summer school Planning organised by AESOP and UN-Habitat in Wroclaw in 2010.


UN-HABITAT Pristina Office:

Ministries Building "Rilindja", 10th Floor
10000 Prishtina, Kosovo
Phone: +381 38 200 32611
Fax: +381 38 224 122
E-mail: info@unhabitat-kosovo.org

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