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.
Summary of results for the reporting period and key achievements.
Objective 1: Better Coordination and Policy Priorities
A final MOU between the EU-funded Support to the Civil Code and Property Rights (CCPR) project and the PRP setting out arrangements for cooperation and coordination was agreed and will be signed in the next quarter.
The PRP will contribute to the CCPR legislative drafting process by providing inputs identifying problems affecting property rights, including gaps and shortcomings in the substantive property law, both primary and secondary, and proposing practical solutions on how to address those problems as mutually agreed upon with the CCPR.
The Policy Development Specialist of the PRP met with the Director of the Legal Office of the Office of Prime Minister and the Coordinator of the Division for Policy Coordination of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to start the process of establishing the Property Rights Sectoral Working Group (SWG).
In order to map out the roles and responsibilities of each donor and line ministry and agency dealing with property rights, the PRP Policy Development Specialist conducted key informant interviews with donor projects and line ministries and agencies to narrowly describe their terms of reference, scopes of work, or legal mandates in a report.
The Policy Development Specialist prepared a list of laws relating directly or indirectly to property rights issues and shared the list with the CCPR. He also located electronic English versions of these laws where possible.
The Policy Development Specialist prepared a list of the main topics that should be covered in a national strategy on property rights. The list includes the general legal requirements pursuant to instructions of the GOK that must be followed by the government in preparing a strategy and policy documents.
Objective 2: Improved Court Procedures Related to Property Claims
The USAID/Kosovo Effective Rule of Law (EROL) project provided an Excel spreadsheet listing data for 95,124 civil cases across all Kosovo Courts. The PRP Judicial Reform Specialist reviewed the civil court caseload and finds that the data cannot be accurately filtered by type of property claim. This is because the database is modeled on the civil court registries, which as pointed out above, do not contain the proper filters to identify all types of property cases.
The Judicial Reform Specialist met with judges from several courts and discussed their perceptions of the key obstacles to disposing of the property rights claims. Major issues are overlapping jurisdiction, conflicting legislation, and what law to apply to a particular claim.
The PRP Judicial Reform Specialist and Gender and Property Rights Specialist met with the Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI) Director and discussed training modules developed and conducted by the KJI related to property rights. The KJI is the main institution in Kosovo providing training for judicial professionals (judges, legal associates, presiding judges and administrative staff). The KJI has already developed modules for two-day property rights courses that cover property ownership and limitations, women’s property rights including anti-discrimination laws, common and joint property rights between spouses, and division of property rights upon divorce.
The PRP, in coordination with KJI and Kosovo Chamber of Advocates training experts, will review the training curricula and training modules to identify gaps in the program and prepare a training needs assessment.
Objective 3: Enhanced Women’s Rights to Use Property in Practice
The PRP sponsored a booth and presented materials informing women and men about property rights and their value to accessing finance to increase opportunities for women to develop sustainable businesses during the Finance Fair organized by the Kosovo Association of Banks and held on September 23 and 24, 2014 by Visitors to the PRP booth included private individuals, students, small business owners, representatives of NGOs, and representatives of other donor projects.
PRP assisted Crimson Capital to develop the agenda, organize venues, identify women entrepreneurs and publicize a joint workshop on finance and property rights for women in business that will take place in Gjakova in the next quarter. PRP and Crimson Capital anticipate replicating the event throughout the country.
Objective 4: Improved Communication, Access to Information and Understanding of Property Rights
PRP Chief of Party (COP) and Municipal Service Delivery Specialist of the PRP met with Agron Maxhuni, Head of Legal Department in Ministry for Local Self-Government, to begin coordination with this counterpart regarding work with the municipalities. He emphasized that any activities geared toward completing the registration of property are of interest.
The COP and the Municipal Services Delivery Specialist met with the mayors of Vushtrri, Istog, Fushë Kosovë, and Gjakova and the deputy mayor of Shtërpce to introduce the PRP and explain the need for an assessment of information sharing in municipalities to identify areas for possible intervention.