Developing sustainable municipal waste services
Title: Sustainable Municipal Services (Waste Management)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Government Administration
Overall term: 2017 to 2022
The waste sector in Kosovo requires an expanded and more efficient waste management system. As part of the decentralisation process currently taking place in Kosovo, municipalities are obliged by law to organise and provide improved services in this area. This is a significant challenge, not only for financial reasons, but also due to a lack of the required know-how, human capacities and adequate procedures. Government at both national and local level requires increased and improved human and financial resources in order to input the necessary capital expenditures and expand waste services. Activities to reduce waste quantities such as source segregation of recyclables and biodegradables are limited to a few pilot projects and business initiatives with little influence on total quantities. Collected waste is not treated or processed, which means that landfilling is still a common method of waste disposal despite being the least desirable option. The general awareness among citizens about the importance of proper waste management as well as their contribution towards it is limited. Illegal dumpsites are a frequent sight and have a significant impact on public health and the environment. Despite the challenging situation and lack of resources at national, and even more so at local level, there is growing motivation and political will to tackle the shortcomings in the country’s waste management services. The Kosovo Integrated Waste Management Strategy (KIWMS) has already been revised and it aims to target collection services, environmentally sound disposal and the removal of illegal dumpsites over the coming five years.
The capacities of the municipalities, the government and the private sector in the area of waste management, with the inclusion of vulnerable groups, are strengthened.
The project provides specialised technical, policy and organisational consultancy at the national and, in particular, at the local level. It promotes donor harmonisation as well as cooperation between governmental and local authorities, the private sector, civil society and the informal sector.
In partnership with the Ministry of Local Government Administration (MLGA) and the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (MESP), the legal framework is being improved in line with the European Union’s (EU) legislation, including a revision of the Kosovo Integrated Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan. Together with the Association of Kosovo Municipalities and the Association of Public Waste Utility Companies in Kosovo (PAMKOS), support is being provided to local authorities and waste collection and transport operators to help them introduce economically efficient and environmentally sound waste management systems. This includes human capacity building, advisory services on drafting municipal waste management plans, tariff-setting, operational plans as well as developing IT-based management and planning tools.
Within the project framework, local NGOs carry out separation at source and composting pilots, taking the first steps towards a circular economy. In this process, particular attention is given to improving the inclusion of informal waste collectors within the waste value chain. They often belong to the vulnerable migration-prone Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian minorities, and the project aims to enhance their working conditions and livelihood.
Various awareness-raising measures are implemented for the general population. Together with the Kosovo Institute for Public Administration waste experts in the country are trained and certified in cooperation with the Kosovo Institute for Public Administration. The Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency is provided with further capacities for monitoring and reporting in the waste sector.
The project aims to bring waste management in Kosovo closer to EU standards. Aligned with the Good Governance Performance Grant of MLGA and the Swiss Development Cooperation, a municipal performance grant is being jointly implemented in the waste sectorwith MESP and co-financed by the EU and MESP.
The conditions for effective and efficient waste management in Kosovo have been improved greatly. An enabling legal framework has been created, municipal waste management plans drafted in the majority of municipalities and first steps taken towards implementing operational plans. The required infrastructure in partner municipalities has been improved. A growing understanding of modern waste management at the municipal level and among citizens has led to a reduction in both environmental pollution and health risks.
There has also been a recognisable improvement in the capacities of the partners, including their ability to communicate and cooperate across a wide range of topics. Municipalities are paving the way for further cooperation and for sharing experiences and learning from one another. For example, a forum has been set up in which municipal leaders and representatives of ministries meet regularly to share information and views on technical, legal and policy issues.