For most Kosovo inhabitants, municipalities are the first and often the only point of contact with government institutions. To help municipalities comply with the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government the Mission has increased its support to municipal legislative bodies.
The Mission’s field teams work in municipalities throughout Kosovo. They maintain daily contact with municipal institutions and the public at large. Field teams monitor the daily work of the municipal executive and legislative branches for their compliance with good governance principles and human rights standards and provide advice on how to overcome observed shortcomings.
To further assist municipalities, the information collected from the field teams’ monitoring, reporting and coaching efforts is used to develop tailor-made municipal, regional, and Kosovo-wide projects and remedial activities that aim to ensure the application of governance principles and a proper oversight and functioning of municipalities. The information collected at the municipal level is also shared with the central level institutions to help them develop local governance reform strategies.
The Mission’s priorities in the area of local governance include: strengthening of legislative oversight, improving the quality of municipal legal acts, supporting the local government reform process, and increasing public participation in decision making.
The Mission is helping municipal assemblies and their committees to exercise effective oversight of municipal executives. This includes the establishment of a functional system of checks and balances and strengthening the role of the assemblies and their legislative committees. In turn, this leads to better implementation of municipal policies and contributes to an improved provision of public services.
The Mission supports local government in improving the quality and timeliness of municipal legal acts submitted to central-level institutions for review. Such acts, for example, include municipal regulations on transparency, decisions on the creation of consultative committees or agreements between municipalities and villages, urban quarters and dwellings. In addition the Mission supports the Ministry of Local Government Administration in co-ordinating and streamlining its efforts in efficient oversight and administrative review of municipal acts.
As municipalities in Kosovo exercise a high level of self-regulation, the Mission also monitors and assists them with developing municipal statutes and other local-level legal acts. This way the Mission is helping to ensure that human rights and good governance principles are fully taken into account.
The Mission monitors ongoing local government reform to ensure the preservation of municipal autonomy and compliance with internationally recognized instruments, such as the European Charter of Local Self-Government. It supports the ongoing transfer of competencies from ministries to municipalities by advising municipalities on how to assume new functions, and by advising ministries on how to transfer these functions most effectively.
In addition, by utilizing its presence at both central and local levels the Mission facilitates communication between municipalities and relevant ministries and is helping them institutionalize and consolidate their co-operation on a wide range of key issues, such as budget planning, provision of public services and social welfare.
The Mission also facilitates best practice exchange among municipalities, in order to help municipalities to effectively and efficiently deliver services to all communities.
The Mission supports municipalities in increasing public participation in decision making by encouraging the establishment of new mechanisms and by improving existing ones, such as consultative committees, sub-municipal representative bodies, women’s caucuses, and youth action councils. Through municipal, regional and Kosovo-wide projects, the Mission aims to raise public awareness about these mechanisms and to support municipal outreach activities. The Mission works to enhance municipal dialogue with residents and to increase their opportunities to influence policy making.
The Mission also focuses on supporting civil society involvement in municipal decision making, particularly of women, youth, and non-Albanian community organizations.