The ‘Integrated Water Resources Management in Kosovo’ (IWRM-K) is a 12-year transformational Program of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Government of Kosovo. Its implementation has been entrusted to the Consortium of Skat Consulting Ltd., St. Gallen Switzerland, and the Environment Agency Austria.
In its first phase (2020–2024), the Program aims to establish the planning framework, the knowledge and the institutional capacities needed to transform the country’s water resource management.
By working with decision-makers, civil society and citizens on tackling key water challenges, this Program will help replace an outdated, traditional, and fragmented approach with more comprehensive and dynamic ways of managing water resources at river basin scale, in line with the principles of the EU Water Framework Directive.
Over the coming years, this Program will help address the root causes of Kosovo’s severe challenges in relation to water. By building capacities to tackle these challenges, it will help ensure sufficient water for Kosovo’s people, economy, and ecosystems.
Water is fundamental for our lives and for our planet. Yet, this precious and limited resource is facing unprecedented challenges. Global population growth, rapid urbanization, industrial development and unsustainable production and consumption patterns are exerting increasing pressures on our freshwater resources around the globe. Millions of people die every year from diseases linked to poor hygiene and unsafe water. Climate change is adding to these pressures. Over the past years, we have seen more floods and droughts than ever before. And in water-scarce regions, the increasing demands for water are leading to instability and forced migration. Kosovo is among the most water stressed countries in Southeast Europe. Its need for fresh water has long exceeded supply because of lack of investments in water infrastructure, inefficient use of water in agriculture and high levels of pollution. Kosovo’s water resources are rapidly deteriorating, and climate change is increasing water-related risks. The management of water resources in Kosovo is complex as it shares its four river basins (Drini i Bardhë, Ibër, Morava e Binçës and Lepenc) with neighboring countries. And currently, institutions do not have sufficient capacities to fulfill their roles and responsibilities and they do not have a coherent framework for planning the management of water resources. There is also very little pressure from citizens and civil society to address environmental degradation.
Kosovo has made significant progress over the past years by working on new legal and institutional frameworks and formulation of water strategies and action plans. However, much more investment and coordinated action is needed to ensure a sustainable water future for all the citizens of Kosovo.
PLANS AND MEASURES
LEGISLATION, INSTITUTIONS AND KNOWLEDGE
STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION, CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS AND AWARENESS RAISING
All of this will lead to the development of a sustainable modern model of water governance – securing a water future for every child, woman and man in Kosovo.
Funding sources: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Government of Kosovo
Total budget for 12 years: Approx. EUR 20 million
Budget for Phase 1 (May 2020 – April 2024): Approx. EUR 8.2 million (SDC) + EUR 1.7 million (Government of Kosovo)
Program partners: Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (MESPI), the Inter-Ministerial Water Council, other ministries, municipalities, educational institutions, and CSOs/NGOs and other.
Implementation: Skat Consulting Ltd., St. Gallen Switzerland & the Environment Agency Austria with the support of World University Services, Austria (WUS) and Ximpulse, Switzerland