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Friday, January 22, 2021
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Kosovo is one of only five countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia that improved their overall civil society organization (CSO) sustainability scores in 2019.  Kosovo improved in every dimension of the USAID-funded CSO Sustainability Index, with CSO advocacy highlighted as a bright spot of the report.  USAID Democracy and Governance Office Director Christina Davis delivered a video message during the live virtual launch of the report in Kosovo on November 25, congratulating civil society organizations on their achievements.

The increase in advocacy during 2019 was not only in response to the 2019 elections in Kosovo but also to the fact that CSOs played an active role in shaping nationwide discussions on pressing issues including LGBTI rights and the environment.  Also noted in the report were three massive citizen-led initiatives focused on protecting water resources, including citizens’ initiatives to stop the construction and operation of hydropower plants and the construction of a housing complex along the shores of a reservoir.  As a result of these initiatives, both the hydropower plant project in Peja and the Badovci housing complex plans were stopped.

In addition to improvements in CSO advocacy, the report highlighted improvements in Kosovo’s legal environment and service provision.  The legal environment improved with the adoption of a new law on CSOs.  As a result, service provision to Kosovo citizens improved with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare licensing two Kosovo-Serb organizations to provide social and family services for the first time.  Financial viability has long been the weakest dimension of CSO sustainability in the region but in 2019, an increase in the number of local grantmaking organizations caused a slight increase in CSOs’ financial viability in Kosovo.

Tools such as the CSO Sustainability Index are important for measuring civil society’s health and performance in any given year by identifying both achievements and challenges.  An active and vibrant civil society that holds the government accountable and advocates for citizens’ needs is crucial for Kosovo’s development.

Last updated: February 19, 2021

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