Kosovo needs a review of decentralization

Kosovo Local Government Institute (KLGI) and the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) located in London (United Kingdom), on Wednesday, have completed a series of visits in the central and local institutions in Kosovo and Macedonia with the aim of understanding the achievements and challenges of local government. The representative from Kosovo Local Government Institute was Mr. Besnik Tahiri, Executive Director of KLGI, whereas, representatives from LGiU in the meetings were Dr. Jonathan Carr-West, Executive Director of the Institute and Mr. Andy Johnson, Head of Operations.

During the visit in the Republic of Macedonia, the leaders of the Institute KLGI and LGiU met with the Minister of Local Government, Ms. Shirit Elezi, with whom they discussed about several issues of the local level. In this meeting, the representatives had the opportunity to understand the successes and challenges that the Republic of Macedonia is encountering in this field and this meeting served as an opportunity for further cooperation between both parties to improve local governance and empower local level.

On the first day of the visit (Wednesday), the leaders of KLGI and LGiU Institute continued with the next meeting at the Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Macedonia, where they were welcomed by Ms. Dusica Perisic, the Executive Director of ZELS. After returning from Macedonia, they visited the municipality of Hani i Elezit, where they were welcomed by the Mayor, Mr. Rufki Suma.

KLGI Institute and LGiU continued with the second day of the visit which took place in central and local institutions in Kosovo. Initially, they visited the Ministry of Local Government (MLGA), where they met with Mrs. Rozafa Ukimeraj, u.d. Permanent Secretary.

Mrs. Ukimeraj stated that there should be territorial reforms in order to develop ideas. The main challenge when it comes to functionality is linked with fiscal decentralization and the main areas that need support in the local level are strategic planning and project management – stated Mrs. Ukimeraj.

The representatives continued the visit in the municipality of Pristina, where they were welcomed by the Mayor, Mr. Shpend Ahmeti. Mr. Shpend Ahmeti stated that local government mayors are powerful with a lot of authority as individuals but local governments in Kosovo are not really powerful in terms of independence from the central level. He added that the main challenge in Prishtina currently is the Law on Prishtina.

Additionally, two other meetings with the Mayor of the Municipality of Gjilan, Mr. Lutfi Haziri, and the Mayor of Municipality of Kamenica, Mr. Begzad Sinani were completed. During the meeting with the Mayor of Gjilan, Mr. Lutfi Haziri, it was discussed about local government reforms, legislation, public transformation and decentralization.

It should be emphasized that Kosovo Local Government Institute (KLGI) and the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) located in London, on Thursday, signed a memorandum of understanding for a strategic partnership. The purpose of the memorandum is to continue a mutual cooperation to improve governance and empower local level.