Kosovo

Following events that took place in 1998-99 and in 2004, significant population movements took place and many thousands of people still live in protracted displacement within Kosovo and the wider region. Efforts to pursue sustainable solutions have primarily focused on returns to and within Kosovo, with limited attention given to other options that may be more preferable to the people and communities directly affected by displacement.

Project overview

Assessing the route to durable solutions for IDPs in Kosovo (2013 – 2018)
Together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), JIPS supported government institutions from both Kosovo and Serbia for a period of over four years in planning and undertaking a durable solutions profiling exercise. The profiling process resulted in a shared analysis of the displacement situation of Albanian, Serb and Roma/Ashkali/Egyptian IDPs in Kosovo, with a focus on the extent to which these populations have reached durable solutions based on the internationally accepted criteria set out in the IASC framework.

The profiling report, which was finally published in April 2018 in English, Serbian and Albanian, has provided for the first time an agreed upon evidence base for the subsequent finalisation of Kosovo’s Strategy for Communities and Return, which is designed to respond to displaced communities’ specific needs.

Profiling process and JIPS’ support

Thanks to a scoping mission to Kosovo in June 2013, which included visits to Gracanicë/a and Mitrovicë/a, it was possible to better understand the displacement situation and recommend the most appropriate profiling model. This was followed by recommendations in terms of objectives, coordination and a methodology for a durable solutions profiling exercise.

A profiling management group (PMG) -made up of the Ministry of Communities and Returns (MCR), the Kosovo Agency for Statistics (KAS), the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration (SCRM), UNHCR and DRC- was established to oversee the exercise, including its day-to-day management, and to secure adequate resources.

A profiling working group (PWG) was also established, composed of the PMG members plus the UN Development Programme (UNDP) the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). JIPS deployed a technical profiling coordinator – via our collaboration with Statistics Norway and NORCAP– to support the development of the methodology and tools.

Together with JIPS support, partners in both Pristina and Belgrade worked to consolidate existing population data of IDPs in Kosovo. Agreement on the population baseline was reached, and key elements of the methodology and tools were discussed. Due to the sensitivities of this work combined with its importance for achieving the overall objectives of the exercise, significant delays impacted the process at this stage. A durable solutions indicator matrix and a corresponding survey questionnaire were later developed. JIPS then supported partners in preparing for the fieldwork, which included training the trainers who went on to prepare the enumerators, team leaders and the data entry team.

The household survey was completed in November 2016, and preliminary findings were reviewed with the PMG. JIPS supported the organisation of an analysis workshop for the PWG and other interested stakeholders, where preliminary results were presented and discussed. The objectives for complementary qualitative data collection were also jointly defined.

The profiling report was finalised in January 2018, following an extensive consultation process with partners, and recommendations developed by profiling partners.

Impact and lessons learned

The profiling of IDPs in Kosovo constituted the first major attempt to comprehensively understand the internal displacement situation in a manner that would be agreed upon. The profiling report is a product of a thoroughly consultative process from start to finish over four years, which brought together both authorities from Kosovo and Serbia around the analysis of the displacement situation in Kosovo. It produced consensus on the baseline population figures and a jointly agreed upon analysis of the situation of Albanian, Serb and Roma/Ashkali/Egyptian IDPs for the first time since the displacement occurred.

Agreed-upon evidence facilitated a more informed and nuanced discussion around the future intentions of the displaced and the implications these have for solutions-oriented programming and broader interventions. Results also helped stakeholders to understand the extent to which these populations have achieved durable solutions in their place of displacement. Complete recommendations are outlined in the report.

These achievements will also be vital for the next step, the finalisation and implementation of Kosovo’s Strategy for Communities and Return, which is designed to respond to displaced communities’ specific needs. The strategy will be the first framework to systematically address the challenges stemming from internal displacement in Kosovo.

The momentum built through the participatory approach should be capitalised on, hence a concerted effort to resolve the protracted displacement is highly desirable.

A holistic and participatory process, together with efforts to strengthen the capacity of relevant institutions at national and local levels, are fundamental steps towards the adequate and timely support to the achievement of durable solutions.

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