Developing sustainable municipal waste services

Project description

Title: Development of sustainable local public services (waste management)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 
Country: Kosovo 
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Government Administration
Overall term: 2006 to 2016

Context

Municipalities in Kosovo face a huge challenge when it comes to providing essential services for their citizens. They are required to fight poverty, strengthen the local economy and promote democracy while at the same time improving infrastructure and the public provision of water, electricity, health services, environmental protection and transport. However, the political, legal and institutional framework is not geared to ensuring effective and efficient service provision from the technical and social infrastructure for the population. While the transition process for the state, its institutions and its regulatory framework towards a participatory and decentralised system of governance has begun, it is far from being complete.

For example, the country still lacks an organised system of waste management. Waste is simply transported to dumping sites without any sorting, treatment or processing. Many rural areas lack waste disposal systems altogether and illegally accumulated waste is an ever-present problem.

Objective

On the basis of a coherent legal framework that complies with EU standards, municipalities assume their new responsibilities for waste management competently and in a way that is citizen-centred.

Approach

The project provides specialised technical, policy and organisational consultancy at national and local level. It advises the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) and actively promotes donor harmonisation, in particular with Swiss development cooperation. Particular emphasis is placed on improving cooperation between government, civil society, the informal sector and the private sector.

The focus is on the municipal level. In partnership with the Ministry of Local Government Administration, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and the Association of Kosovo Municipalities, support is provided for local authorities and regional waste utilities with the introduction of economically efficient and environmentally sound waste management systems. Considerable importance is attached to citizen involvement. Identifying and promoting participation procedures fosters the active participation of civil society in municipal policy decision-making and implementation processes. Local non-governmental organisations launch broad-based information and education campaigns to help municipalities show citizens how to reduce the amount of waste produced and to raise their awareness of the importance of a functioning waste management system.

Other activities to support the reform of waste management include the drawing up of municipal waste management plans and various pilot projects, in which municipal employees learn how to implement plans hands on, for example by sorting and collecting recyclable materials.

Municipalities receive support with regard to securing sustainable financing for waste disposal services. The possibilities explored include private sector involvement and ways of levying and collecting waste charges in a socially responsible manner. The project also accords priority to creating an underlying institutional framework. The focus here is on reforming municipal waste utilities and administrative processes to bring them into line with European standards.

Results

Conditions for effective and efficient waste management in Kosovo have been greatly improved. A legal framework has been created and preliminary waste management plans have been drawn up. The required infrastructure in partner municipalities has been improved. There has been a reduction in both environmental pollution and health risks thanks to the growing understanding of modern waste management at municipal level and among the citizens themselves.

There has also been a marked improvement in the ability of the partners to communicate and cooperate across a wide range of areas. Municipalities are beginning to work together, share experiences and learn from one another. For example, a forum has been set up within the municipalities’ association, in which municipal leaders and representatives of ministries meet regularly to share information and views on technical, legal and policy issues.