USAID’s Property Rights Program (PRP) is a four-year activity that aims to address the property rights challenges and to develop a plan for the stabilization of the property rights regime in Kosovo. The program will work in partnership with the Government of Kosovo (GOK), selected municipalities and other relevant local and international stakeholders. USAID has allocated $8.5 million for the implementation of the Property Rights Program.
The absence of an effective property rights framework in Kosovo weakens democratic governance, impacts human rights, disempowers women and impedes sustainable economic growth. The USAID/Kosovo Property Rights Program (PRP) assists the Government of Kosovo (GoK) to implement its National Strategy on Property Rights (NSPR), developed with PRP support, and strengthen property rights legislation; supports the development of improved court procedures and practices to efficiently adjudicate property claims and disputes; conducts public outreach campaigns to prompt changes in social attitudes and behavior concerning the ability of women to exercise their property rights and works closely with civil society organizations to support related activities; and improves service delivery in municipalities to increase the general public’s understanding of property rights and make it easier for citizens to exercise their property rights.
With the GoK adopting the NSPR in January 2017, PRP is now working closely with all relevant GoK bodies to implement the strategy’s recommendations. This includes assistance to strengthen the property rights legal framework by ensuring it is modern, clear, harmonized and well-integrated and implementation of activities to help citizens to formalize their property rights.
PRP has been working closely with the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) and three Courts of Merit (CoMs) to develop and pilot improved court procedures related to property claims. The piloting initiative has produced significant and demonstrable improvements in the CoMs’ efficiency and effectiveness in adjudicating property rights cases and offers a roadmap for institutionalizing these reforms throughout the judicial system. PRP has applied findings from its close collaboration with CoM’s to develop an initiative with the Supreme Court to produce guidelines for lower courts to accurately and consistently resolve complex property rights disputes. Results produced by PRP in these areas contribute to achieving USAID/Kosovo’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy Development (CDCS) Objective 1 “Improved Rule of Law and Governance that Meets Citizens’ Needs.” Improved legislation and court procedures also support creation of an Improved Economic Governance and Business Environment under the CDCS Development Objective 2 “Increased Investment and Private Sector Employment.”
PRP’s most recent National Survey on Property Rights demonstrates that PRP’s media campaign has sparked debate and discussion in Kosovo concerning women’s property rights (which was reportedly a taboo subject previously) and is producing positive changes in social attitudes and behaviors. PRP is continuing its national media campaign and grassroots public outreach activities on women’s property rights to reinforce these trends. PRP also provides technical assistance to USAID’s E4E partner and E4E sub-grantees (Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)) to develop and implement activities aimed at supporting women’s property rights and to complement PRP’s public outreach activities. In addition, PRP has completed preparations to collect end-line data and produce the final National Survey on Property Rights report by February 2019.
At the municipal level, PRP is working with local administrations to improve their own practices and procedures and services to citizens related to property rights; provide citizens with useful legal information to enable them to more efficiently transact their rights to property; and engage more effectively with their communities on property rights issues.