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 signed on behalf of participants, Tetra Tech ARD and GIZ IS and witnessed by the USAID Mission Director on December 12, 2014.
Obtained agreement with the Division of Planning and Coordination at the Ministry of European Integration that the PRP should guide coordination to develop the National Property Rights Strategy and that this would in no way interfere with Ministry of European Integration activities. This division within the Ministry of European Integration is charged with coordination and development of policy priorities and donor coordination activities in the property sector under Regulation No. 4/2011.
Worked with the Director of the Department of EU and Policy Coordination at the Ministry of Justice to organize a high-level Property Rights Stakeholders meeting, as part of an effort to establish a Property Rights Sectorial Working Group (SWG) that will provide the institutional platform to ensure formal coordination among all property rights stakeholders.
Agreed with the CCPR that the PRP will specifically identify constraints and obstacles faced by the courts and/or the parties to proceedings related to property cases, and will look for ways to revise procedures and practices to improve the court system with regard to property rights.
The PRP subcontracted the Civil Rights Program in Kosovo (CRP/K) to conduct legislative analysis and prepare a report regarding legislation affecting minority communities including issues of religious properties and challenges to accessing justice in the courts. Draft reports were submitted by CRP/K in late December and are under review by the PRP.
Objective 2: Improved Court Procedures Related to Property Claims
The PRP engaged a Court Management Consultant from Tetra Tech DPK to provide short-term expert consultation to develop customized assessment tools to assist the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) to assess and analyze current court processes related to the adjudication and processing of property claims.
PRP, together with Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) and the Basic Courts of Ferizaj, Gjilan, and Gjakova used the tool to assess the extent to which applicable legislation, judicial practices, and case processing procedures constrain efficient adjudication of property rights in courts.
Objective 3: Enhanced Women’s Rights to Use Property in Practice
The PRP took an active part in launching the National Campaign, under the Patronage of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, to Improve Gender Equality in the Property Registration “For our Common Good”.
The PRP engaged a Behavior Change Communications Expert from Tetra Tech ARD to deliver training of trainers for the PRP Communications and Public Outreach Manager and the Gender and Property Rights Specialist to build their capacity in BCC methods. The Behavior Communication Expert also provided the PRP with training materials for the training of the CSOs under the USAID Engagement for Equity (E4E) program.
The PRP engaged a gender expert consultant to conduct a legal review of all relevant legislation, develop a process map of the inheritance process identifying administrative procedures that enable exclusion of women from inheritance proceedings, and to provide analysis of the cultural issues and power dynamics between women and men that prevent women from exercising their property rights.
The PRP took part in the organization of and presentations at three workshops on the financing of women’s businesses and the role of women’s property rights in the process with Crimson Finance Fund; Gjakova on October 10, 2013 with 32 owners of women’s businesses; Gjilan on November 25, 2014 with 62 women’s businesses participating; and in Peja on December 10, 2014 attended by over 100 local women’s businesses.
Objective 4: Improved Communication, Access to Information and Understanding of Property Rights
The PRP engaged an expert consultant to conduct a series of interviews with Kosovo Cadastral Agency (KCA), Municipal Cadastre Offices (MCOs), Civil Registries, notary offices, and relevant officials in the municipalities of Vushtrri, Istog, Gjakova, Shterpce, Ferizaj, and Gjilan and Fushe Kosova to identify needs, capacity of existing systems, and procedures employed to obtain, manage and share data and to make preliminary suggestions for the use of USAID Government to Government (G2G) funding to support activities with municipalities to improve the sharing of property related information to assist courts to more efficiently adjudicate claims and facilitate market transactions. The consultant’s report was submitted to USAID.