Economic Cooperation - Country Assistance Policy

March, 2013

1. Relevance of Assistance

The Republic of Kosovo (hereinafter referred to as “Kosovo”) was placed under the interim administration by the United Nations in 1999 following the Kosovo conflict during the 1990s. In 2008, the country proclaimed independence from the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter referred to as “Serbia”). The economy and society of Kosovo have depended significantly on Serbia, making its socio-economic infrastructure fragile. As a result, the country remains an underdeveloped area in the Western Balkans. Situated in an area that has experienced a number of major conflicts, Kosovo needs to become a stable country. This is essential for peace and stability in not only the Western Balkans but the entire European region. From this perspective, Japan launched its humanitarian and reconstruction assistance for the country in 1998 through international organizations. Following the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2009, Japan began to provide bilateral assistance to Kosovo.

A current major challenge for Kosovo is environmental infrastructure development. Assistance that utilizes Japan’s advanced technology and knowledge in this sector is significant not only for Kosovo; it will also promote Japan’s environmental technology in the country. Also, as Kosovo is a pro-Japanese country, mutual visit of leading figures between Japan and Kosovo have frequently been conducted in recent years. Supporting Kosovo through ODA will help further maintain the favorable relationship with the country. This in turn will lead to strengthening relations with the EU, a strategic partner of Japan.

2. Basic Policy of Assistance: Promotion of Sustainable Economic Development

Kosovo is currently focusing on advancing sustainable economic development, reinforcing governance and the rule of law, and promoting human resources development and social welfare. Japan will support Kosovo in stabilizing its social and economic infrastructure towards sustainable nation-building, not least in sectors where it can utilize its advanced technology and knowledge.

3. Priority Areas

(1) Developing environmental infrastructure and the management capacity

In rebuilding itself from the conflict, Kosovo has focused only on socio-economic infrastructure development, allowing the country to fall behind in environmental management. As a result, environmental problems such as solid waste management, water management, and air pollution constitute a matter of immediate concern. Looking ahead, Kosovo needs to work on environmental management for the sustainable nation-building. Japan will support Kosovo in strengthening its efforts in the environmental sector while utilizing Japan’s advanced technology and knowledge.

(2) Enhancing administrative capacity and human resources

In the process of developing social infrastructure, Kosovo faces the urgent task of enhancing human resources in administrative agencies to operate and manage such infrastructure and improve its public service. Other important issues for the country include regional disparities. The poverty and unemployment rates are said to be high, especially in the rural areas. In view of these circumstances, Japan will support the enhancement of human resources for administrative agencies of Kosovo in a range of sectors, including public health, through technical cooperation and grass-roots assistance. It will also offer assistance designed to reduce disparities in the provinces.

4. Points to be considered

Kosovo is a multi-ethnic country, with Albanians accounting for about 90% of the population and the rest made up of Serbs, Turks, Bosniaks, Gorani people, Roma, and other minorities. In selecting target areas, it is necessary to consider the balance between these ethnic groups.

Annex: Rolling Plan