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.
The aspirational objectives addressed by the Statement of Work of the USAID Property Rights Program (PRP) are tightly interlinked and cut across all of PRP’s task areas, which are (1) assisting the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to lead development of a policy and legal framework that enables each citizen to efficiently acquire, register and transact their property rights; (2) instituting court procedures that provide citizens with efficient access to fair and effective adjudication of their property claims; (3) institutional, legal and cultural recognition of and support for the fair and equitable exercise of property rights by women and members of non-majority communities; and (4) improved exchange and access to property rights related information by municipal government and judicial bodies, and increased understanding of property rights issues by the general public.
As a consequence of this interconnectedness, it is not possible to address the property rights challenges under each objective in isolation. For this reason, PRP is taking a comprehensive approach in its reform efforts, identifying the thematic issues and legislative reforms that need to be addressed simultaneously so the policies and legal framework governing property rights will be revised and improved in a consistent manner. In this way, solutions achieved in one area will help further reforms in others.
In view of all this, PRP incorporates the following principles approaches in its work:
A Comprehensive Approach in Advancing Reforms
PRP will identify all of the legal and institutional constraints to be addressed in advancing a reform and advocates and supports a similar multi-vector approach by PRP’s Kosovo partners.
Coordination and Harmonization with Other Stakeholders
There is a multiplicity of Kosovo institutions and organizations and other donor projects working in areas that intersect with PRP’s tasks. These include the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC), the four Courts of Merit (CoM), the Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI), and the EU-funded Support to Civil Code and Property Rights project (CCPR), as well as the USAID Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) project and upcoming Justice System Strengthening Program (JSSP). PRP will pro-actively interact and coordinate with all of these actors to ensure consistency in approach and to avoid duplication. PRP will accomplish this primarily through ongoing one-on-one contacts and meetings, rather than by convening large groups, for greater efficiency and clarity.
Internal Coordination among Project Components
Owing to the cross-cutting nature of issues arising in connection with property rights, PRP concertedly fosters collaboration among its Component leads to ensure that each benefits from the experience of the others and sees his/her own work in the broader context of property rights reform.
Attention to Gender-Related Issues
PRP will ensure that issues related to women’s property rights are reflected and addressed in all areas of the PRP’s work – in policy development, legislative drafting and public outreach and advocacy.
Action and Advocacy at Both National and Grass-Roots Levels
PRP will seek opportunities to work at both the national and local levels. In addition to PRP’s work with municipalities under Objective 4, PRP will seek to engage organizations and groups throughout the country and at all levels in its efforts to increase the public’s general understanding of property rights and to marshal support for and advocacy of the fair and equitable recognition of the property rights of women and minorities.
Approximation to EU Practice and Requirements
In view of Kosovo’s aspirations to accede to the European Union, as evidenced by the Stabilization and Association Agreement that Kosovo and the EU have signed, PRP will coordinate closely with EU projects and its Kosovo partners and will support the development of legislation that is consistent with Kosovo’s approximation to EU norms and standards.
Achieving Sustainability by Building Capacity
Reforms are sustainable when they address a recognized social need and when institutions and organizations have the capacity to maintain them. All of PRP’s reform activities address both of these aspects. For example, supporting the MoJ’s development of the National Strategy on Property Rights; helping the KJC and Courts of Merit Capacity develop improved court procedures to increase efficiency and reduce backlog; increasing the capacity of the Advocacy Training and Resource Center (ATRC) to manage direct funding from USAID and that of its sub-grantees to implement USAID grants and support Behavior Change Communication campaigns; and raising the ability of municipalities to manage direct funding and improve information sharing internally and with the courts, which will assist court reforms and facilitate property transactions.
Successful capacity building leads to sustainable solution to achieve our ultimate objective: to clearly define property rights for a large segment of the population, create more efficient procedures to recognize and enforce these rights, make these rights accessible to all (women and minorities) and make it easier to transact these rights to support development of a vibrant land market to help further develop Kosovo’s economy.