Partial reform harms the municipal system and its functionality

Within the third module of the program ‘Local Governance Academy’, KLGI Institute has organized a discussion about the need for a functional review of local governance and alignment with European models of municipal functionality.

The topic "Organization and Functioning of Local Governance in Europe" was addressed in separate sessions, reflecting good models and practices in this field.

Lecturers in this module were the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, Per Strand Sjaastad, and the Head of Programs at DEMOS, Norbert Pijls.

Besides sharing their experiences from the countries that they represent, they also know the model of Kosovo through their direct engagement in local governance. Thus, this was a good opportunity to compare models based on the organization, structure and ways of providing services.

Given that municipalities are the first hand of the state in providing services, this module also served as an opportunity to reflect on the journey that should be followed towards reform in embracing the European model.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Pristina, Per Strand Sjaastad, discussed about the local government system in Norway. He emphasized that the central government is only good when the local government has no problems and develops in an orderly manner. He pointed out that the municipality is the first hand of a state. Ambassador Sjaastad stated that today Norway has fewer municipalities with more responsibilities - a method for having an effective decentralization.

Meanwhile, Besnik Tahiri stressed out that the main challenges are the limited financial capacities and economic differences between urban and rural municipalities. The second challenging matter is related to the administrative capacities, where there are serious issues in political decision-making processes.

The Head of Programs at DEMOS, Norbert Pijls, has made a comparison of government systems between the Republic of Kosovo and the Netherlands. It was concluded that the main difference at the local level is that in the Netherlands the mayor is appointed by the king, while in Kosovo the mayor is directly elected by citizens. He also discussed other important issues at the local level, such as: the validation of municipalities to citizens, inter-municipal cooperation and professionalized schools.

Kosovo Local Government Institute is offering a substantial program in the field of local government, known as the Local Government Academy (LGA), the first of its kind in the Republic of Kosovo. LGA is designed to serve as a platform and a way of non-formal education for municipal officials and leaders of local government. The goals of the LGA focus on promoting local governance and democracy in Kosovo.

This program involves 30 members, a high level of representation of the participating municipalities: Prishtina, Suhareka, Dragash, Mamusha and Klokot. This group also includes members of the MLGA, the National Audit Office and Civil Society.