Spatial Planning and Land Management II

Project description

Title: Spatial Planning and Land Management II
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Kosovo
Lead excuting agency: Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning
Overall term: 2019 to 2021

Context

Agriculture is an important pillar of Kosovo's economy, accounting for 12 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 25 per cent of employment. Productivity of the agricultural sector is strongly affected by fragmented and inaccessible plots of land and unregulated settlement and construction activities. Agricultural land is converted uncontrollably into building land; since the war in Kosovo, more than 350,000 unauthorised buildings have been built, whereby agricultural landscapes can no longer be used efficiently.

Furthermore, unclear ownership of land and the lack of an up-to-date land register curbs agricultural investment, further reducing income and employment opportunities for the rural population.

The Government of Kosovo prioritises the regulation of agricultural land with elaboration of Municipal Development Plans and zoning maps and strengthening of property rights. By improving the legal framework, regulations are set to effectively control land use and maintain or increase the productivity of the limited agricultural land. With the newly prepared development plans, the municipalities of Kosovo now face the challenge of effectively controlling land use in order to preserve agricultural land. 

Objective

The state procedures for more effective protection and more efficient use of agricultural land are improved. This has been done by improving spatial planning and land management practices at local and national level, resulting in creation of legally binding land use plans and efficient monitoring systems. 

Approach

The project Spatial Planning and Land Management II is pursuing the approach of enhancing capacities for sustainable municipal development planning at the local and national levels. Simultaneously, the conditions for the consolidation of agricultural land are improved.

At the national level, on one hand, the project collaborates with the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (MESP) in advising on improving spatial planning practices and developing an IT-based instrument for monitoring land use changes. On the other hand, the project advices on elaborating feasible land regulation mechanisms to clarify on land ownership issues together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAFRD).

At the local level, spatial planning advisors provide technical support to selected partner municipalities in developing improved Municipal Development Plans (MDP) and Municipal Zoning Maps (MZM), as well as promote the exchange of best practices in spatial planning and peer to peer learning facilitated by the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM). The project also advices selected municipalities on improving cooperation between the directorates of urbanism and inspection with the introduction of an IT-based land use change monitoring tool. This will help inspectors to detect irregularities, control urban sprawl and preserve agricultural land.

An overall aim of the project is to increase the transparency and accountability of all parties involved in land management processes. In order to achieve this, following the principles of good governance such as transparency, accountability, participation, the project advices on the inclusion of gender, ethnic minorities and age groups as well as environmental impact, climate change and EU regulations. Regulated land management will enhance Kosovo’s rural development and rural livelihood, which in turn reduces migration from rural to urban areas and abroad.

In order to increase capacities for individuals and authorities on national and municipal levels for implementing better land management practices, capacity development measures are conducted, such as on-the-job training, participation at international, regional and local workshops and conferences as well as peer-to-peer learning and networking.