After the conflict in 1999 and the NATO intervention that ensued, Kosovo has been the focus for inter-community relations in the Western Balkans. Under the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), supervision institutions have been built to ensure that community rights are respected, that non-majority communities have a voice in the government, and that inter-community cooperation is fostered at the central and local levels. The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) currently works with these institutions to strengthen democratic principles and to encourage political development.
Over the past months, Kosovo has been impacted by the Belgrade-Pristina talks. While the First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations of April 2013 can be seen as a historic step in normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina, its success depends on effective implementation, communicating it to “the ground” and citizens’ reception of it, especially in Northern Kosovo.
CSSP hopes the Southern municipalities we have worked with will bring their experiences in normalising relations between different minorities as good practices to the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities, which is part of the implementation plan.
By supporting leaders at the local level in becoming more effective at resolving local conflicts, CSSP contributes to the overall peace-building process in Kosovo. To establish more efficient dispute resolution systems, CSSP promotes the development of mediation as a profession in Kosovo. We work with the political institutions at the central and local levels, as well as civil society, to expand the mediation profession in post-conflict zones. By fomenting local expertise in mediation, especially inter-community mediation, local solutions can be found for local problems.
At the municipal level, CSSP works particularly with the Communities Committee and the Municipal Assembly as well as with the Municipal Administration. CSSP also coaches local leaders on inclusive policy-making that builds trust among communities and interest-based negotiation in order to find solutions that benefit all stakeholders. When appropriate, CSSP mediates. When conflict issues involve other levels of government, CSSP implements its multi-track approach and integrates representatives from the state and international levels in the mediation process.
In Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, CSSP works particularly with civil society organisations and individuals from North and South Mitrovica/Mitrovice to build their skills in inter-community mediation. CSSP recently established a Mediation Center with offices north and south of the river Ibër/Ibar, where CSSP-trained mediators can handle court-referred and out-of-court cases.
Through this work, CSSP supports the development of non-violent, interest-based dispute resolution in Kosovo’s communities, building the skills of representatives.
For more information, please contact our Kosovo Team: