USAID’s Property Rights Program (PRP) is a four-year activity that aims to address the property rights challenges and to develop a plan for the stabilization of the property rights regime in Kosovo. The program will work in partnership with the Government of Kosovo (GOK), selected municipalities and other relevant local and international stakeholders. USAID has allocated $8.5 million for the implementation of the Property Rights Program.
Summary of results for the reporting period and key achievements.
Objective 1: Better Coordination and Policy Priorities
The PRP submitted a draft annual work plan and started to organize activities.
Members of the PRP met with a broad range of partners that will be necessary collaborators to ensure the success of the program and proper coordination among donors and line ministries and agencies regarding a property rights reform agenda.
The PRP met twice with the Team Leader of the European Commission Liaison Office Support to Civil Code and Property Rights Project (ECLO) project to refine areas of cooperation and reduce the agreement to writing. The projects agreed that the ECLO project will lead in identifying challenges with substantive property law (both primary and secondary), developing a Property Law Action Plan. The PRP will concentrate on coordination among donors and line ministries and agencies of the Government of Kosovo (GOK). The PRP will also assist ECLO in the compilation of applicable legislation in the property sector. The PRP will also focus on laws/issues which affect the rights of women and/or minority communities.
In addition to meeting representatives of donor projects, the PRP organized meetings with the National Property Rights Coordinator (NPRC), the Director of the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC), the CEO of the Kosovo Cadastre Agency, and the Director of the Department of European Integration and Policy Coordination of the Ministry of Justice, and with the General Secretary of Ministry of Justice to discuss both donor coordination and coordination among line ministries and agencies of GOK.
With the agreement of the ECLO project, the PRP began identifying the laws directly or indirectly related to property rights adopted by Assembly of Kosovo between 2002 and 2014 and any amendments to these laws. The list states the name of the law, when it was adopted by the Assembly, and amended, if applicable, the purpose of the law, and what, if any, reform actions would be appropriate.
The PRP also began gathering terms of reference from the international stakeholders that will be used to map out the activities of each donor.
Objective 2: Improved Court Procedures Related to Property Claims
PRP staff introduced the project to the Chair and Secretariat Director of the Kosovo Judicial Council. The Judicial Reform Specialist also met twice with the Administrator and Statistics Officer of the Court of Appeals to discuss and receive preliminary statistical data related to property rights disputes pending before the Court of Appeals.
The PRP obtained agreement from the USAID Effective Rule of Law Program that it will share its database regarding court backlogs, and other data that would be useful for the PRP to analyze to determine bottlenecks in the court administration and adjudication of claims to property rights.
Objective 3: Enhanced Women’s Rights to Use Property in Practice
The mortgaging issue will be a concern of the PRP regarding women’s access to credit by using property as collateral. The PRP will conduct follow-up meetings to discern lenders’ opinions on this issue, and devise a program to develop material to inform women regarding this issue.
The Gender and Property Rights Specialist and the Judicial Reform Specialist met the Agency for Gender Equality at the Prime Minister’s Office that is interested in the PRP assisting with legislative development in the area of women’s property rights.
Objective 4: Improved Communication, Access to Information and Understanding of Property Rights
The PRP Chief of Party (COP) and Objective 4 Team Leader attended a coordination meeting between Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Municipal Cadastral Offices (MCOs) from Gracanica, Fushe Kosovo, and Lipija. The issue discussed had to do with claims that were adjudicated by the courts prior to 1999, which now cannot be registered without approval by the Kosovo Privatization Agency.
The same issue was under discussion at a roundtable sponsored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the municipality of Gracanica on July 25, 2014.