ROADMAP TO SUSTAINABLE LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN KOSOVO. Consolidated Action Programme

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1 ROADMAP TO SUSTAINABLE LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN KOSOVO Consolidated Action Programme Pristina, 26 May

2 Contents SECTION I: Programme Overview 3 An integrated Kosovo programme for sustainable local governance 3 (a) Kosovo s commitment to decentralization and local self government 3 (b) The roadmap to sustainable local governance 4 The consolidated Action Program 5 (a) Objective 5 (b) Key programme areas 5 Implementation Arrangements 6 SECTION II: Detailed programme profiles 8 2

3 SECTION I PROGRAMME OVERVIEW An integrated programme for sustainable local governance in Kosovo (a) Kosovo s commitment to decentralization and local self governance Over the last six years, Kosovo has become increasingly committed to a strongly decentralized framework of governance and service delivery, culminating in the recent Law on Local Self Government which transfers to municipalities sole or shared responsibility over a very broad range of service sectors including not only the more common local services such as street paving, potable water, and sanitation but also many sectors that are normally considered among the more difficult services to decentralize including health care, education, and social services. The big question and challenge facing Kosovo now, after legislating this bold decentralization framework, is: are the local and national institutions ready to assume this new mandate? The broad consensus is that, no, they are not ready, and that only an aggressive, comprehensive technical assistance and institution building effort will begin to fill the gap between mandated responsibilities on paper and effective local delivery on the ground. The current Action Programme proposal is an attempt to move in this direction. To better understand the nature of the challenge currently facing the Government, it is important to remember that Kosovo s decentralization process is grounded in a very unusual set of geopolitical circumstances. Unlike most other countries, in Kosovo decentralization did not arise as a grassroots demand for empowerment from a majority of local communities. It was proposed, top down, by the international community as a vehicle for reengaging the minority ethnic Serbian communities into the political process. 1 This strategic geopolitical purpose took on increasing importance as Kosovo moved into discussions on a Status Settlement, culminating in the Ahtisaari Proposal 2 in early 2007 which, with the latter purpose in mind, proposed an aggressive local empowerment agenda aimed more at placating international geopolitical demands than at ensuring effective and sustainable local service delivery on the ground. This shortcoming has been further exacerbated by an important stipulation in the Ahtisaari Proposal indicating that within 120 days of resolution of Kosovo s status, not only must a constitution be drafted and adopted, but also four critical laws on local governance must be drafted and approved the Laws on Local Self Government, Local Boundaries, Local Elections and Local Finance. The problem is that the clear urgency and priority attached to the preparation of these laws has absorbed much of the time and technical capacity available in Government particularly the Ministry of Local 1 Specifically, in 2002, when former SRSG suggested for the first time the strategic importance of decentralization as a vehicle for reintegration of Serbian communities. 2 The Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement, presented to the UN Security Council on 26 March Available at 3

4 Government Administration (MLGA) and Ministry of Finance and Economy (MFE), leaving relatively unattended the follow up requirements for Government action after the 120 Transition Period requirements that, in fact, are equally critical as the initial legislation to ensure feasibility of the new decentralized framework for service delivery. (b) The Roadmap exercise looking beyond the 120 day Transition Period Conscious of these shortcomings, in the summer of 2007 concerns began to emerge among many national and international actors that systematic attention also needed to be given to the medium and long term needs of the decentralization process after the 120 day Transition Period. In August, under coordination of the Office of the Prime Minister, an integrated Kosovo led programming initiative, the Roadmap to Decentralization, was agreed upon. Its purpose was to prepare a national programme for the implementation of the new decentralization framework put into motion by the Ahtisaari Proposal, aiming to create more effective and sustainable systems of local governance and service delivery in the country. With coordination from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Roadmap exercise was organized around an extensively participatory and consultative process involving not only the Ministries of Local Government and Administration, and Economy and Finance, but also many of the sectoral line ministries, the Kosovo Association of Municipalities, and most of the international donor agencies who work actively in the sector. 3 Organized around a central Steering Committee, and several thematic working groups, this partnership of stakeholders worked continuously from September December, preparing issue papers and preliminary recommendations for government action in a total of 20 thematic areas. The results of this joint exercise were consolidated into a Preliminary Programming Matrix for the Roadmap which was presented for discussion at a Stakeholder Workshop held in Gjakova on December 6 7, aimed at assessing progress in the Roadmap and making recommendations on the following wrap up phase of work for the exercise. The large number of national and international participants at the Gjakova Workshop 4 underscored the widespread, multi institutional interest that exists regarding the decentralization process in Kosovo. There was consensus at the meeting, among all the stakeholders, that the programming exercise had been successful and that it was necessary to move ahead with its final consolidation; along these lines, the workshop produced a detailed set of recommendations for the concluding phase of work. This was reinforced by a memo sent by the former Prime Minister, after the workshop, 3 More specifically, the following line ministries participated actively: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning; Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, and Ministry of Internal Affairs. Internationally, the Roadmap exercise counted on the active technical participation of: USAID (EMI), UNDP, EAR, SDC, DFID, IMF, VNG and the World Bank. 4 Eight government ministries and nine international donor agencies were represented at the meeting. 4

5 congratulating the Roadmap partners for the preliminary achievements of the exercise and pledging his support to encourage continuation of the effort with the new Government. On the basis of this mandate, since December, a core central team proceeded with the final stage of work in the Roadmap exercise, aimed at producing a final proposal and document for joint Government/Donor action, the Consolidated Action Programme. Presented here in a draft version for final consultation with all the stakeholders including, most especially, the municipal governments the Consolidated Programme was formulated on the basis of the Programming Matrix and thematic Issue Papers prepared previously by the Roadmap partners, updated to reflect conclusions and feedback from the Gjakova workshop. In addition, the important progress made during this interim period in finalizing the Law on Local Self Government and Law on Local Finance has helped significantly in clarifying the needs and priorities that government will face in the coming two to three year period making the new decentralised framework of governance effective and functional. These needs figure prominently in the final mix of recommendations proposed for the Programme, including in particular, the need (i) to operationalise the new governance structure with clearer, more functional definitions of new administrative responsibilities and accompanying procedures; (ii) to put in place a more effective central support system for the training and capacity building of municipal government staff (as well as that of central government ministries); (iii) to put in place a framework mechanism, at the national level, to support and speed up the process of creation of new municipalities mandated by the Ahtisaari Proposal; and (iv) strengthen coordination mechanisms for international assistance of municipal development, ensuring a more equitable, effective, and complimentary distribution of aid among all municipal governments. The Consolidated Programme (a) Objective The main objective of this proposal is to support implementation of the newly mandated framework for local service delivery in Kosovo, by way of a set of pilot programme interventions aimed at overcoming the principal bottlenecks standing in the way of effective and sustainable governance at the local level. (b) Key programme areas The Consolidated Progamme consists of 12 individual programme proposals aimed at comprehensively addressing the most critical issues and bottlenecks currently faced at the local and national level as a result of the decentralisation process. These proposals, listed below, have been organised under four broad intervention groups (i) local 5

6 governance and administration; (ii) local service delivery; (iii) intergovernmental and municipal finance; and (iv) central local cooperation derived from the four action groups or components initially targeted by the Roadmap exercise. 1. Local governance and administration a new culture of management 1. Addressing Staffing Issues at the Municipal Level 2. Effective management through transparency and accountability 3. Strengthening Social Cohesion and Public Participation at the Local Level 4. Supporting the Process of Setting Up New Municipalities 2. Delivery of local services satisfying the end user 5. Supporting Mechanisms for Efficient Service Delivery 6. Sector Specific Service Delivery Support 7. Public Private Partnerships for Local Economic Development 3. Intergovernmental and municipal finances generating resources while building fiduciary confidence. 8. Strengthening Municipal Finance Systems Local revenue and expenditure systems Participatory planning and budgeting Local capital investment systems 4. Cooperative central local relations building effective support and coordination systems 9. Addressing Inter governmental Dispute Resolution 10. Strengthened Local Government Association and Inter governmental Communication 11. Central Government Support to Municipal Development 12. Systematizing Capacity Building Systems: Local Government Development and Resource Centre A detailed profile description and rationale for each of the individual programme proposals is presented in Section 2 of this document. Implementation arrangements. Implementation of the consolidated Programme will be the responsibility of MLGA working through a small and flexible Project Management Unit (PMU). Based on the experience of the Roadmap exercise, the PMU should be composed of a core team of five specialists and experts (including a Unit Coordinator). 6

7 Partnership for sustainable local governance and donor coordination. Seeking to continue the very successful process of stakeholder participation created under the Roadmap exercise, the PMU will report to a joint national international Programme Steering Committee (PSC), collectively chaired by MLGA, MFE and OPM. This is particularly important for this Programme, in light of the strong multi sectoral, crosscutting nature of any effort aimed at local government strengthening. The PSC will be supported by the current Donor Coordination cell in MLGA as well as the Donor Coordination Centre in OPM, in order to ensure effective dovetailing of donor support to municipal development. Also borrowing on the experience of the Roadmap, stakeholder participation will also be encouraged at the more working level, by creating thematic or sectoral working groups to support the PMU in the implementation of each of the specific programmes within the Consolidated Programme framework. Other implementation arrangements. As proposed in the profiles presented in the following Section, implementation arrangements for individual programmes vary a great deal. In most cases, given the varying institutional capacities that exist in Kosovo, the programmes have been structured as pilot/showcase operations, limited to representative samples of 3 5 pilot municipalities, with the understanding that, if successful, they could be replicated for larger, scale up interventions covering the rest of the municipalities. Depending on the institutional capacity that exists for each programme area, coordination responsibility for the programme will sometimes be assigned to a central government ministry, while in other cases it is assigned directly to the municipal governments with the support of an international donor institution. In either case, the beneficiary municipalities are expected to take play a strong role, both in the formulation and implementation stages. 7

8 SECTION 2: PROGRAMME PROFILES CONTENTS Programme Profile no. 1: Addressing Staffing Issues at the Municipal Level... 9 Programme Profile no. 2: Effective municipal management through transparency and accountability Programme Profile no. 3: Strengthening Social Cohesion and Public Participation at the Local Level Programme Profile no. 4: Supporting the Process of Setting up New Municipalities Programme Profile no. 5: Supporting Mechanisms for Efficient Service Delivery Programme Profile no. 6: Sector specific support for local service delivery Programme Profile no. 7: Public Private Partnerships in support of Local Economic Development Programme Profile no. 8: Strengthening municipal finance systems following up on the Law on Local Government Finance Programme Profile no. 9: Strengthened Local Government Association and Intergovernmental Communication Systems Programme Profile no. 10: Addressing Inter governmental Dispute Resolution Programme Profile no. 11: Central Government Support to Municipal Development.. 43 Programme Profile no. 12: Local Government Development and Resource Centre

9 Programme Profile no. 1: Addressing Staffing Issues at the Municipal Level Objective The overall objective of this programme is to address issues of misaligned staffing at the municipal level. While the programme brings attention to a number of critical issues, recommended activities focus specifically on the need for a functional review like approach to ensuring that municipal civil servants are proportionately addressing professional and administrative requirements of municipal functions. Other critical issues highlighted in the programme are addressed in other Programme Profiles noted below. Institutional Responsibility Over the long run, the Ministry of Local Government Administration (MLGA) should assume a lead national role, in partnership with the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM). In the short run, however, international donor agencies will likely have to take a lead role in the execution of the programme, in partnership with MLGA and AKM. Recommended Budget: TBD Perhaps one of the most serious challenges that Kosovo will face as it decentralises service delivery is the under developed administrative and managerial capacity of most local governments today much of it structurally entrenched issues of overstaffing and a poor division of labour among civil servants. Without a significant, big push effort to engage municipal administrations at all levels in a systematic modernisation and realignment effort, the effective implementation of the new decentralisation mandates will be seriously mired down. Specifically, the municipalities face three major cross cutting administrative challenges: Municipal staffing. Kosovo s municipal governments are saddled with a daunting challenge in the area of staffing: large numbers of poorly trained, underpaid civil servants with a weak sense of team purpose. This is largely the result of the role of employer of last result that most municipalities took on in the immediate post conflict period. Acting as an informal social net for the locally unemployed, municipalities have, over the years, bloated their staffs with poorly paid, poorly trained and poorly motivated employees. Correcting or undoing this situation will not be simple, requiring multi pronged initiatives including efforts to improve income and job opportunities in the local economy (see Programme on Local Economic Development) a serious political/managerial commitment on the part of local leaders, and an effective partnership between municipal management and staff. 9

10 The number of Administrative staff in each municipality was also a source of concern for most mayors. While a the majority of Mayors complained that they did not have enough staff to fully implement their agendas a significant minority complained that they employed too many staff and that many of them had little or no work to do. The mayors of Decan and Peja, for instance, both claim that they would actually achieve more with considerably smaller staffs than are currently employed by their municipalities. Furthermore, only a tiny minority of mayors were confident of the technical skills and competencies of their staff. While significant numbers of municipal staff throughout the country have received relevant trainings from a whole host of national and international agencies the prevailing sentiment among mayors is that personal competency levels among staff remain extremely low. Computer skills were listed by many mayors and deputy mayors as the most obvious need for most municipal staff. In many of the smaller and more rural municipalities the legacy of communism has yet to be eliminated from the administrative culture. Furthermore, many administrative staff seem to have been hired, at least in part, due to the role they played in the war. The Mayor of Mitrovica believes that a University level course on public administration might rectify some of these issues for the next generation of municipal civil servants. A recurring theme throughout the consultations was the lack of financial incentives for attracting the highly qualified and competent personnel required to efficiently administer the municipality. Salary top ups from international donors were frequently suggested as a remedy for this particular problem. While such a solution would not be sustainable, an alternative approach is to under take acrossthe board cuts in staff which are simplistic although politically very conflictive. Another, more constructive approach, is to build on the experience of other Easter European countries that have dealt with similar staffing challenges by relying on functional review exercises that aim at systematically identifying and redifining critical functional needs and organisational divisions in a municipality, realigning staff on the basis of their skills profiles relative to redefined functional units of the municipality, coupled with significant staff training efforts aimed at upgrading the skill set of existing staff. Such an initiative should also be complemented by a technical assistance package aimed at creating a sustainable, merit based system of personnel management. Management culture. Municipal managers are burdened by an outdated, bureaucratic management culture that is ill equipped to systematically identify critical local problems, propose do able solutions, and convert proposals (even political manifestos) into effective results and deliverables. Management modernisation activities below aim to comprehensively build critical skills and collectively shift the mindset of municipal managers and staff towards a proactive culture of management. This issue is reflected within Component 1 of the Programme Profile Local Government Development and Resource Centre. 10

11 Understanding the responsibilities of local government. The capacity of municipal administrations is critically hamstrung by the ambiguities and imprecision that exists regarding the precise definition of competencies and responsibilities of municipal governments. Although, critical progress has been made by the Law on Local Self Government and the forthcoming Law on Local Government Finance in the definition of the broad categories of municipal competencies, major work still lies ahead in clarifying, with functional and administrative precision, the specific, detailed assignment of competencies between municipal and national entities. Until the latter is undertaken systematically, sector by sector, and functional area by functional area, municipal as well as central government entities will continue to operate in the dark, leading to confusion, paralysis of initiative, and lack of accountability in both levels of government. Many mayors expressed dismay at the fact that there does not appear to be a harmonising strategy for the two laws. The contradictory nature of the two laws has led to a sort of legislative paralysis in several municipalities. Many also complained that different ministries appear to have interpreted both the new Law and the Regulation differently. To address this problem, accompanying Programme Profiles it is proposed to have a systematic technical assistance effort aimed at clarifying detailed competencies between levels of government, through a series of technical dialogue and negotiation processes organised sector by sector between local and central government entities (see Programme Profile Addressing Inter governmental Dispute Resolution ). Components Component 1: Addressing Municipal Staffing Issues Functional review and staff/organisation re alignment Output 1: Design and implementation of a Kosovo specific detailed methodology for local functional review and organisational/staff realignment; Output 2: Formulation and implementation of a technical/professional training programme of municipal staff at all levels (politically elected leaders; upper and middle management; line staff) aimed at strengthening staff skills in critical functional areas of municipalities (This is also foreseen in the Programme Profile on Local Government Development and Resource Centre budgetary requirements are reflected there); Output 3: Promotion of a sustainable, merit based, secure and transparent personnel management system through: a) establishment of procedures for appointment, promotion and disciplinary measures, b) analysis of existing possibilities for maintenance and upgrading of professional qualifications, and c) exploration of possible role for the municipal association in capacity building effort; Output 4: Monitoring of results of previous activities 11

12 Programme Profile no. 2: Effective municipal management through transparency and accountability Objective The overall objective of this programme is to mainstream practices for increased transparency and accountability into municipal management processes. In particular, the programme focuses on using transparency and accountability as management tools, to capacity build municipal leaders to undertake self assessments of the levels of transparency and accountability in municipal processes, with particular focus on procurement, financial management and urban planning, with the end goal of eventual ISO certification of municipalities in Kosovo. This programme aims to pilot these processes in 5 municipalities, with foreseen scale up for implementation Kosovo wide after the first phase. Institutional Responsibilities Executing agencies: 5 municipalities, supported by central coordination mechanism funded by international donor Partner support: Partnership of government and civil society stakeholder organizations Recommended budget: TBD Accountability and transparency are indispensable pillars of democratic governance that compel the state, private sector and civil society to focus on results, seek clear objectives, develop effective strategies, and monitor and report on performance. Through public accountability and transparency, governments, together with civil society and the private sector, can achieve congruence between public policy, its implementation and the efficient allocation of resources. Transparency International has ranked Kosovo as being the fourth most corrupt country in the world. At the local government level, even though specific documentation is often lacking, the current perception among local citizens is that corruption is also commonplace, particularly in three critical areas: contract procurement, permitting and taxation, and the hiring and promotion of civil servants. Kosovo s ability to fight public mismanagement and corruption will be a crucial test for its post status aspiration to join the European Union. This will be rendered particularly challenging by the decentralisation process put in motion by the Ahtisaari Proposal: the significant increase in power and autonomy of local governments, if not accompanied by commensurate increases in transparency and accountability, will bring with it an even greater risk of mismanagement and corruption at the local level. Municipal procurement systems. Currently the internal control systems in Kosovo s municipal administrations are under developed. Monitoring and control mechanisms are inefficient and do not provide guidelines for functional administration. This has been clearly documented in the case of local procurement systems. According to recent reports from the Office of the Auditor General, corruption and mismanagement in municipal procurement systems is widespread. In many cases contracting does not adhere to established procurement rules and procedures, thus opening the door to practices of nepotism where contracts are awarded on the basis of 12

13 friendship or family ties. Similarly, media outlets and civil society have often reported accusations of bribery of procurement officers. Transparency as a management tool. Little has been done to educate municipal managers and staff on the significant benefits that can accrue from the adoption of transparent and accountable management practices. In the first place, by achieving internationally accepted practices in this area, municipalities can much more easily receive ISO certification, in turn opening the door for the same municipality to become eligible for direct international lending once sub national borrowing authority is established. Irrespective of the latter, transparency and accountability systems constitute an important management information tool for Mayors, providing useful feedback on the effectiveness of a municipality s service delivery and financial administration systems. Moreover, the streamlining and standardisation of municipal operations that result from transparency initiatives lead to significant efficiency gains in the management and delivery of public services. The mayor of Kaqanik believes that his greatest challenge and the feat he most wishes to accomplish will be the changing of the management culture in his municipality. The administrative culture of the communist era has not yet been fully eradicated in many of Kosovo s municipalities. Citizens throughout Kosovo remain ill informed on the role of municipal civil servants and even on the role of the municipal administration itself. Furthermore, many mayors related how the procedures and processes involved in everyday municipal administration are almost entirely incomprehensible to the average citizen. There is a significant will among mayors to dramatically increase transparency and accountability at the municipal level. The Mayor of Kacqanik, along with several others, suggested that a good place to start promoting a culture of transparency was in the municipal work place itself. He advocated tearing down actual walls in the municipal building so that citizens could literally see municipal staff at work. In Suhareke, the brand new Centre for Citizen and Business Services was designed specifically with physical transparency in mind. Components Component 1: Transparency and accountability assessment of municipal operations Output 1: Develop diagnostic tools for assessing integrity levels within a municipal department. Determine the areas where lack of transparency and accountability exist the most, as well as areas where corruption is believed to occur the most through interviews with mayors and department directors/heads of department. Areas that should be assessed more thoroughly are: o urban planning (construction permits), o financial management (tax collections), o communal activities (permits for taxis, businesses etc.), o public procurement within these categories; Output 2: Review the public procurement procedures, how they are to be promulgated within public sector procurement departments as well as to the business community, the training requirements for ensuring their introduction and implementation as well as the monitoring processes for ensuring compliance of those responsible for ensuring 13

14 an effective procurement process. Experts in local government with the help of AKM and the Kosovo Anti Corruption Agency should conduct this exercise. Component 2: Incorporating transparency and accountability tools, aiming at ISO certification Output 1: Standardising municipal administrative procedures in the three high risk municipal administration areas: urban planning, communal activities and financial management by: o Mapping and streamlining municipal administrative procedures at local level, o Develop a manual for local stakeholders on front and back office processes, showing, by way of simple tables and diagrams, the procedure, timeframe and cost of each operation, o Develop and disseminate written procedures and rules for procurement; Output 2: Prepare an information and resource tool kit for local government and civil society, which can be used as a guide of how to fight against corruption and improve the level of good governance at the local level; Output 3: Develop a Code of Ethics for political appointees at the local level, supported by the AKM and a select group of interested mayors. Component 3: Municipal index of responsibility, transparency and accountability in the areas of public procurement, urban planning and financial management Output 1: Create a methodology to eliminate weak spots on transparency and accountability focusing on the most vulnerable areas identified during the assessment stage. To be used in future as a self evaluation mechanism by local authorities. The methodology should specify: o critical points of corruption identified in the first stage, o anti corruption mechanism, o indicators and quantification of the indicators; Output 2: Conduct a comprehensive baseline and periodic assessment for measuring the Index at the local level; Output 3: Assist municipalities in establishing a register of all official documents, database of the requests submitted, and support them in accomplishing their obligation to appoint a designated archivist, also to facilitate process of establishment of the Commissions for drafting the list of sensitive documents; Output 4: Establish mechanisms to monitor implementation of the Law on Access to Official Documents. Component 4: Network of local watch dog NGOs focusing on transparency and accountability of municipal operations 14

15 Output 1: Provide capacity building for civil society organizations on watch dog functions, including better coordination. This can be done by provision of grants for 2 3 local NGOs in each municipality to create a watch dog network with one NGO taking the leadership role. Requires an annual work plan for NGO selection, and annual report at the end of the year. Activities should include: o training of the media on investigative journalism, o public awareness raising on municipal transparency and accountability, o o ability to access information at local level, implementation of activities on the issues of transparency, accountability, ethics, anti corruption, good governance aiming to enhance civil control in the fight against corruption. 15

16 Programme Profile no. 3: Strengthening Social Cohesion and Public Participation at the Local Level Objective Strengthened social cohesion among municipal inhabitants by (i) advancing ethnic and minority integration and gender equality, and (ii) strengthening citizen participation mechanisms and the use of local volunteer organizations piloted in 5 municipalities. Institutional Responsibility Executing agencies: Ministry of Local Government Administration (MLGA); Ministry of Communities and Returns (MCR); Office of the Prime Minister Agency for Gender Equality (OPM AGE) Partners: Civil Society Recommended Budget: TBD A central premise of the Ahtisaari Proposal is that Kosovo s history of intense ethnic conflict can be overcome by empowering local communities and generating the building blocks of social cohesion from the bottom up, at the local level. In order for this to happen, a concerted effort must be made in three important areas: (i) strengthening of public participation mechanisms for all citizens in municipalities, including a proactive reliance on local volunteer organizations; (ii) targeted social and physical integration of marginalized ethnic community groups; and (iii) proactive efforts aimed at reaping the benefits of improved gender equality in local governance and administration. Currently, the majority of local government administrations in Kosovo have made relatively limited inroads in addressing problems of social/minority exclusion and restricted citizen participation in their communities. In many cases, this has been due more to a lack of capacity and technical and organisational know how among local administrators, than to a lack of political will. To address these shortcomings, a set of four complementary components is proposed below, dealing respectively with: social and physical integration of minority communities; gender equality; local volunteerism; and public participation. Moreover, the component on promotion of the rights of minority communities to participate in decision making is divided into three components (technical assistance to municipalities, facilitation of inter ethnic dialogue and increasing access to public services of minority communities). The aim of this component is to promote the rights of all communities living in Kosovo, as well facilitation of inter ethnic dialogue. The component on gender equality mainly consists of capacity building and effective coordination of the officials that plan and address gender issues. The aim of the component on volunteerism aims to increase cooperation with civil society and give the opportunity to the citizens to have some practical experience and to contribute in administration. Also, this would help the administration to select good capacities in their work. The component on public participation aims to improve the transparency of local governance towards citizens, as well to improve the participation of citizens in the governing of their own municipalities. 16

17 Many mayors, throughout the consultation process, expressed a resolve to increase citizen participation in municipal affairs. While the benefits to the public that come with citizen participation are obvious most of the Mayors understood that there were also benefits to be gained for the municipal administration. Most mayors, as politicians, are keenly aware that their mandates were granted by the citizens and that they thus only stand to gain from involving these same citizens in the governing process. The mayor of Istog, by way of example, encourages public debates on relevant social, economic and administrative issues while the mayor of Ferizaj meets weekly with groups of concerned citizens for up to five hours. Mayors throughout Kosovo have introduced similar schemes to promote social cohesion and public participation. Components Component 1: Social and physical integration of minority communities Output 1: Technical assistance to strengthen outreach and participatory planning mechanisms of municipalities with minority communities a) Organization of yearly public information campaigns by municipal government to promote the rights of its citizens to participate in decision making; b) Formulation of annual community integration action plans by the Municipal Community Offices, with direct participation by minority communities, to identify and plan activities regarding housing, employment and integration in public life; c) Increasing frequency of visits by the Community Offices through provision of necessary transport infrastructure to minority areas aimed at informing the latter of relevant municipal government initiatives, and receiving inputs and feedback from minority residents. Output 2: Output 3: Facilitation of inter ethnic dialogue and cooperation a) In cooperation with civil society organisations, undertake local multi ethnic activities for youth, such as camping, seminars and concerts, aimed at building a new culture of inter ethnic cooperation among the youth; b) Promotion of summer internships in the municipal administrations, aimed at mobilizing a mix of secondary school students from different ethnic backgrounds. Expanded access to local public services by minority communities a) Technical assistance to support Community Offices in the processing and presentation of minority community action plans with their respective Municipal Assemblies, aimed in particular at addressing critical shortfalls in infrastructure and other public services and utilities; b) Technical assistance to municipalities in order to raise capital investment funds with the Donor Coordination Cell of the MLGA, in order to finance minority community investment needs that cannot be covered through regular municipal budget funds. 17

18 Component 2: Technical Assistance to strengthen gender equality in municipal administrations Output 1: Output 2: Support to the Agency for Gender Equality to organise training seminars and/or onthe job technical assistance for municipal gender officers to: (i) disseminate and discuss implementation of the Law on Gender Equality; (ii) formulate local policy or project initiatives in support of gender equality, and (iii) review municipal legislation and norms to identify inconsistencies with the law on gender equality; Technical assistance to support cooperation between Municipal Gender Officers and relevant civil society organisations. Component 3: Formulation and implementation of a policy on local volunteerism Output 1: Undertake a study to diagnose prospects for increased volunteerism at the local level, and propose alternative forms of support promotion of the findings with central and local government; Output 2: Provide technical assistance to ensure adequate local dimension in proposed national legislation on volunteerism; Output 3: Awareness campaign to inform and encourage local citizens and NGO sectors of opportunities, rights and responsibilities of volunteers and volunteer organisations, as well as responsibilities of government and prospects for public private partnerships. Component 4: Strengthened public participation and outreach at the local level Output 1: Technical assistance to municipalities on cooperation with media, informing the public of municipal activities and performance; Output 2: Technical assistance to improve dissemination and organisation of public participation in municipal meetings and events; Output 3: Technical assistance to municipalities and civil society organisations, to encourage greater participation in planning and delivery of local services; Output 4: Technical assistance to develop systems and procedures to ensure regular and timely updates of municipal web pages (Please note web page maintenance also referenced in Programme Profile on transparency). 18

19 Programme Profile no. 4: Supporting the Process of Setting up New Municipalities Objective The overall objective of this programme is to highlight specific process related issues of setting up new municipalities, as foreseen in the Ahtisaari Proposal, and legislated in the new Law on Local Self Government and Law on Municipal Boundaries. Moving beyond specific legislative requirements, this programme focuses on addressing (i) increasing community acceptance of the creation of new municipalities, (ii) ensuring that the set up of the municipalities is coordinated by a central over sight body, (iii) set up is undertaken in a strategic and wellplanned manner, and (iv) funding gaps for critical components of set up (hardware, training, human resources etc.) are rapidly addressed. Institutional Responsibility Executing agency: Primary responsibility should lie with the MLGA, particularly in leading the process of creation of an implementation over sight body Co executing partners: Ministry of Finance and Economics (MFE), Ministry of Returns and Communities (MRC), and the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM), together with international institutions with specific programmes to support this process (USAID, EAR). Recommended Budget: TBD Newly adopted legislation on the establishment of new municipalities (Law on Local Self Government and Law on Administrative Municipal Boundaries) instructs the government of Kosovo that the current municipality of Novo Berde/Novo Brdo shall be territorially extended, as well as the current municipality of Mitrovica, two new municipalities shall be established (Mitrovice/Mitrovica North and Mitrovice/Mitrovica South). Hence, new municipalities shall be established in: Gracanice/Gracanica, Ranillug, Partesh, and Kllokot. Also the existent pilot municipalities established in 2005 shall be certified as regular municipalities (Junik, Hani i Elezit and Mamusha). Establishment of these municipalities is a governance priority and thus it is high in the agenda of local and international institutions, including the donors in Kosovo. The process of establishment of new municipalities brings along many challenges and therefore requires general mobilisation of government institutions and greater commitment of relevant international stakeholders. It is important to stress that without successful establishment of the new municipalities the agenda of the path of the reform of local self government is at stake. It is highlighted by the Government of Kosovo and in particular by the international actors (EU, Contact Group countries, etc.) that success in establishment of new municipalities interlinks directly with success of transition process in Kosovo in general. 19

20 However, the creation of the new municipalities continues to be one of the most contentious aspects of the Ahtisaari Proposal. While the majority of Kosovo s municipalities will be unaffected, the final outcome of the establishment process remains of critical importance to those municipalities which will be affected. Many of the mayors of affected, or mother municipalities complained that it remains unclear whether UNMIK or EULEX will supervise the process. Some of these mayors even felt that they were being deliberately excluded from the process by UNMIK. Community Acceptance. The establishment of the newly created municipalities requires not only wide acceptance from their communities but it also seeks great participation in the establishment process. In most of these municipalities the majority of the population are from the Serbian community which is, in fact, hesitant to participate in the process. The cooperation of Serbian community is crucial to success. Therefore, the Kosovo Government and the international commitment must play a crucial role in encouraging the cooperation of the Serbian community. In Mitrovica there are a significant number of Albanian farmers whose lands will lie in the new municipal boundary. These farmers will find themselves a minority in someone else s municipality instead of a majority in their own municipality. This is a matter of huge significance to these farmers and their municipal leaders. In Gjilan, which faces the almost identical problem of ceding some of its territory to the newly expanded Novo Berde/Novo Brdo, the mayor is fearful of the potential reaction of Albanians who will find themselves on the wrong side of the new boundary. In fact, the new municipal border between Gjilan and Novo Berde/Novo Brdo will actually cut several farmers lands in two. Implementation (Municipalities with majority Serb and non Albanian populations). The contexts for the implementation of the new municipalities differ from one another in a number of political and economic circumstances. In municipalities where there are less political and ethnic tensions (Novo Berde/Novo Brdo, Mamusa, Ranillug, Junik) the implementation process should prove easier. However, in municipalities such as Gracanice/Gracanica and Mitrovice/Mitrovica difficulties are more likely to arise. However, in all new municipalities, critical infrastructure and training needs must be immediately addressed if commitments made within the Ahtisaari Proposal are to be met. USAID and EAR local government support programmes have built within them specific components focussing on these issues to ensure that such issues as premises, IT infrastructure, and basic organizational and management training support are provided. Several of the mmayors of mother municipalities also pointed out that while they may be struggling to cope with all of the competencies being handed to them in recent times, the new municipalities simply cannot hope to effectively handle the workload. In short, the mayors fear the new municipalities will be swamped. The mayor of Novo Berde/Novo Brdo has indicated (according to the Mayor of Gjilan) that his administration is struggling to cope with their responsibilities even within the territory already allotted to them. How can he hope to progress after his municipality is expanded? Cross Institutional Cooperation. The successful implementation of the establishment of new municipalities is linked with well coordinated management between the Kosovo Institutions 20

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