Time is Money: Kosovo's Arbitration Week Raises Awareness for Alternative Dispute Resolutions

Speeches Shim

Thursday, May 12, 2022
USAID Director Zeinah Salahi during a roundtable discussion hosted by AmCham Kosovo
Xheraldina Cernobregu, USAID

In Kosovo, commercial disputes through the courts can take up to four years to reach resolution.  The process is costly, during which businesses lose capital and their goods lose value.  For commercial enterprises, time is money.  Alternative dispute resolution methods  (ADR), such as mediation and arbitration, resolve commercial disputes outside of the courts. This expedites resolutions and cuts the time in limbo from multiple years to a matter of months. 

Despite Kosovo having strong legislation that enables arbitration use, only a handful of cases are arbitrated each year; businesses are simply unaware of ADRs and their benefits.  USAID’s Commercial Justice Activity has made it their mission to change this. 

From March 14 - 18, USAID teamed up with the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo (AmCham) to host Kosovo’s Arbitration Week.  The week held a series of roundtables that delved into a range of topics designed to provide specific information about the advantages arbitration offers to businesses. The roundtables were livestreamed on AmCham’s Facebook page, generating over 12,000 views by the end of the week. 

The event’s most popular roundtable was a discussion about the underrepresentation of women in arbitration.  Kujtesa Nezaj, an arbitrator for the American Chamber of Kosovo explained, “the promotion of women arbitrators is very necessary. There are women who can serve as role models, but they are not visible.”  Kujtesa went on to explain that gender diversity improves the way arbitration is perceived by users, which in turn adds more legitimacy to proceedings.  

A recent USAID Commercial Justice Activity survey found this to be true as well.  Fifty-four percent of respondents said they would be “more willing to use commercial justice institutions if more women were represented in them,” suggesting better gender balance increases trust and confidence in Kosovo’s justice systems.  Seventy-eight percent of those respondents were men. 

Events like Arbitration Week identify opportunities, such as the inclusion and advancement of women arbitrators, and help Kosovo’s businesses take full advantage of the arbitration benefits already available to them.

Last updated: May 27, 2022

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