Overview

The Republic of Kosovo is located in Europe’s southeastern region and stands out for its central position within the Balkans. It is bordered by several countries: Albania (with a border length of 113 km) to the southwest, Montenegro (79 km) to the west, Serbia (380 km) to the north and east, and North Macedonia (170 km) to the southeast. The country is located in the northern hemisphere, spanning a latitude between 41° 50′ 58″ and 43° 15′ 42″N, and an eastern longitude between 20° 01′ 02″ and 21° 48′ 02″E. The complex history of present-day Kosovo is reflected in its relatively small territory of approximately 10,908 square kilometres, which has a unique shape.

Kosovo faced a tumultuous period in the late 20th century, marked by political tensions and armed conflicts. The Kosovo War (1998-1999) was a significant turning point, leading to international intervention and, ultimately, the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Although Kosovo only achieved independence from Serbia (ex-Yugoslav Federation) in 2008, it is one of the oldest nations in Europe. With a wealth of historical heritage, the region has been home to diverse civilisations over time, carrying profound cultural and historical significance. 

The region’s location in the heart of the Balkans has exposed it to various influences and conflicts. The Kosovo War is associated with the depopulation of the entire region that began in the late 1990s. The destructive consequences of the war, transitional challenges, unemployment, and the slow and difficult adjustment of various sectors to new conditions led to a continuous outward migration trend. Additionally, an unfavourable societal environment, including political instability and slow economic development, also influenced the population outflow. The process of seeking EU accession brought about a new wave of outward migration, especially among younger individuals and families. As a result, between 1999 and 2021, Kosovo lost a significant portion of its population. 

According to the statistics, the population of Kosovo in 2021 was estimated to be 1,812,577. The ethnic composition of Kosovo is diverse, with a primarily Albanian majority population of 92.9%. However, there are also significant minority communities, including Serbs at about 5%, Bosniaks 1.6%, Turks 1.1%, Ashkali 0.9%, Egyptian 0.7%, Gorani 0.6%, Romani 0.5%, and other/unspecified 0.2% (2011 estimates). The ethnic dynamics have played a role in shaping the history and the socio-political landscape of the region. Kosovo is currently grappling with a significant hurdle in fostering local and rural economic progress. A substantial 62% of the populace resides in rural regions and relies on agricultural activities for their sustenance, either directly or indirectly. Elevating revenue generation within less developed and exposed rural communities is a crucial objective, alongside promoting sustainable economic advancement.

Since 1999, Kosovo has made noteworthy post-conflict strides in various sectors. It is actively solidifying its democratic institutions, enhancing its legal framework, and reinforcing the institutional foundations for a functional market economy. Economic reforms gained traction after the 2014 elections, leading to a new Assembly and government. A pivotal moment arrived on 27 October 2015, with the EU signing a significant Stabilisation and Association Agreement, marking progress towards Kosovo’s European aspirations. Since 1 January 2024, Kosovo citizens have been able to move freely within the Schengen Zone, and this is expected to foster economic, socio-cultural, and academic ties with Schengen countries. Advancements have also been seen in business facilitation and in the legal sphere.

Today, Kosovo is a young nation working to strengthen its institutions, foster interethnic dialogue, and pursue economic development. The country faces various challenges, including political stability, socio-economic issues, and the pursuit of international recognition. Nonetheless, Kosovo’s rich cultural heritage and the resilience of its people contribute to its ongoing journey as an independent nation.

General information

Capital Pristina
Population of the capital (2020) 196 809 (EUROSTAT)
Surface area (km2) 10,887 (World Bank)
Total population (2020) 1,790,133 (World Bank)
Total population (2010) 1,775,680 (World Bank)
Population density (2020) (inh./km2) na (World Bank)
Degree of urbanisation (2015) 31,08% (European Commission)
Human development index (2021) nA (HDI)
GDP Current data can be found here: World Bank
Unemployment rate (2019) nA (World Bank)
Land use Current data can be found here: European Environment Agency
Sectoral structure Current data can be found here: CIA The World Factbook

To ensure comparability between all Country Profiles, the tables were prepared by the ARL.

Administrative structure and system of governance

Kosovo’s administrative structure is intricately shaped by its historical, political, and international circumstances. The country operates as a democratic, parliamentary republic, adhering to the principle of the division of powers and ensuring checks and balances among them, as outlined in the Constitution. The Constitution of Kosovo and related laws outline its governance and administrative structure, safeguarding democratic rights and guaranteeing citizens’ rights to local self-governance. The Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, also known as the National Assembly, is the primary representative entity of the people. 

The Constitution outlines a decentralised governance system with a division of powers between the central government and the local municipalities. The municipalities have significant authority over local issues such as education, healthcare, urban planning, and local economic development. However, certain key functions, such as the judiciary, policy and internal affairs, foreign affairs and defence, remain under the central government’s jurisdiction.

I Tiers of government: Central and local

 

Central government

Based in the capital city, Pristina, the central government is at the heart of Kosovo’s administrative framework. Key institutions within the central government include the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The Prime Minister serves as the head of the government and wields significant executive authority. The Prime Minister’s role involves leading the government, proposing policies, and representing Kosovo both domestically and internationally. The Prime Minister’s Office is the central hub for coordinating government actions and ensuring policy coherence. The Cabinet encompasses various ministries, each headed by a minister responsible for specific policy areas. Ministries cover essential sectors such as finance, education, health, justice, town and country planning, and foreign affairs. These ministries play a pivotal role in developing policies, proposing laws, and overseeing their implementation across various sectors.

Although the country has seven regions, each of them having their regional centres, these centres have no administrative power over other municipalities within their hub. The regions are Pristina, Mitrovica, Peja, Prizren, Gjilan, Ferizaj, and Gjakova. 

Municipalities (local government)

Kosovo is divided into a network of municipalities, each granted varying degrees of autonomy and authority to cater to the specific needs of local communities. In total, Kosovo has 38 municipalities, with Prishtina enjoying a special status as Kosovo Capital City (the Law on Kosovo Capital City Prishtina has been in force since 2018). These municipalities serve as local self-governance units and are responsible for various local administrative functions such as education, healthcare, urban planning, and more. However, municipalities rely significantly on the central government for funding, as only a relatively small portion of their budgets comes from their own generated revenues. 

Municipalities are demarcated to encapsulate geographical areas that naturally coalesce into cohesive economic and social units. United by mutual interests, municipalities undertake the stewardship of matters of direct relevance to their resident populations. Core responsibilities encompass the organisation of localities and housing, land use and urban planning; the provision of public utilities, childcare, social welfare, primary healthcare services, and education at the elementary level; cultural endeavours; physical education; sports management; consumer safeguarding; environmental preservation and enhancement; fire safety; and civil defence preparedness. After its independence in 2008, Kosovo underwent a so-called ‘decentralisation process’ which resulted in the establishment of 10 new municipalities dedicated to ethnic minorities comprised of Serbs, Turks, Bosniaks, etc.

Each municipality has its own elected Municipal Assembly and mayor, who is the elected leader of the municipality and shoulders the responsibility of local governance, service provision, and development initiatives. Elected directly by a democratic vote based on the model of 50% + 1 votes, mayors oversee essential aspects like managing the municipal budget and municipal resources, initiating and supervising infrastructure projects, and ensuring the delivery of vital local public services. Mayors thus play a crucial role in urban development, public services, and community engagement. 

The Municipal Assembly serves as the local legislative body and is composed of elected representatives from within the municipality. The Municipal Assembly legislates on local matters, approves the municipal budget, and oversees the work of the mayor and municipal administration. 

II System of powers: Executive, legislative, judicial

The governance system in Kosovo is structured around legislative, executive, and judicial powers, each with distinct powers and responsibilities, in line with the principle of the separation of powers. 

Executive power: The Prime Minister and the President

The executive power is vested in the Prime Minister, who is the head of government, and the President, who is the head of state. The Prime Minister leads the government, implements policies, and manages the administration. The President represents the country domestically and abroad and plays a role in foreign affairs and security matters. While the President’s role is largely ceremonial, it holds significance in diplomatic engagement and in fostering a sense of unity within the country. The President has responsibilities such as signing legislation, appointing the Prime Minister, and receiving foreign diplomats, which contribute to the overall political landscape. The President is also the General Commander of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF).

Legislative power: The Assembly of Kosovo

The single-chamber parliament of Kosovo, known as the Assembly of Kosovo, represents the core legislative authority and is responsible for enacting and amending the Constitution, crafting and passing laws and devising policies, endorsing the budget and authorising budget allocations, ratifying international agreements and conducting a thorough oversight of the government’s actions and performance. As such, the Assembly plays a vital role in shaping the nation’s legal framework and policies.

The Assembly consists of 120 members (deputies) elected through proportional representation. To ensure comprehensive representation of the populace, of these 120 seats, 20 are reserved for ethnic minorities in Kosovo, comprised of Serbs, Turks, Bosniaks, Ashkali, etc. For important decisions and critical issues such as constitutional changes, a double majority of votes is needed. This means that crucial changes can only occur if the majority votes of the 20 reserved seats also agree. 

The President of the Assembly is chosen from among the deputies, presides over sessions and represents the Assembly in external matters, adding a layer of formal leadership to the legislative body.

Judicial power: The courts

The judicial system of Kosovo operates independently and plays a pivotal role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring an independent, fair justice process. 

Constitutional Court: The highest court is the Constitutional Court, which has the vital role of interpreting the Constitution and reviewing the constitutionality of laws. Its decisions carry significant weight in shaping the legal framework and ensuring adherence to constitutional principles.

Supreme Court: As the apex judicial institution, the Supreme Court serves as the final appellate instance in the judicial hierarchy. It addresses appeals and ensures uniformity in the application of laws throughout the country.

Municipal courts: The municipal courts are integral components of the judicial system, responsible for addressing a wide range of criminal and civil cases at different levels.

Commercial courts: Since 1 August 2022, the Kosovo judicial system has also operated with Commercial Courts, which focus on commercial issues.

Figure 1: Administrative Structure of Kosovo

Figure 1: Administrative Structure of Kosovo

Figure 2: System of Powers of Kosovo

Figure 2: System of Powers of Kosovo

Spatial planning system

Historical development of the spatial planning system in Kosovo

Kosovo’s spatial planning system has changed dramatically since Yugoslavia. The spatial planning method then was centralised and directed by the communist beliefs of the time. This centralisation encompassed development, resource allocation, and urbanisation linked to industrialisation. Kosovo’s spatial planning typified the Yugoslavian model of top-down control and thorough coordination. The region’s socialist landscapes balanced industrial expansion, infrastructure development, and social welfare. The central government heavily influenced urbanisation, land use, and resource allocation.

Spatial planning changed drastically after Yugoslavia collapsed and Kosovo was thrown into conflict in the late 1990s. The fighting caused widespread relocation, infrastructural destruction, and administrative instability, including to spatial planning frameworks. Kosovo entered a crucial period following the war: as the nation rebuilt, it had a unique opportunity to rehabilitate its physical and social fabric and restructure its spatial planning paradigm. International organisations and donors helped develop new governance structures, legislative foundations, and strong planning institutions. Even before independence in 2008, Kosovo had established its temporary self-governance institutions, including the Ministry of Spatial Planning. After the 1998-1999 war and separation from Serbia, Kosovo adopted its Law on Spatial Planning in 2003. The current Institute of Spatial Planning was also established in 2003 and in November 2023 it marked 20 years of shaping spatial planning processes in Kosovo. 

UN-Habitat’s urban development and spatial planning expertise made it an essential partner. UN-Habitat provided technical assistance, capacity-building, and direct funding. To revitalise Kosovo’s spatial planning industry, UN-Habitat collaborated with local authorities and other stakeholders to build efficient governance structures, formulate strategic planning policies, and cultivate human resources. This partnership between UN-Habitat and Kosovo brought together international and local expertise to reimagine the spatial planning process. Through the promotion of sustainable urban development by UN-Habitat and other global actors, Kosovo was able to restore its international reputation as a resilient and rejuvenated nation with a spatial planning system capable of meeting both the requirements of today and those of the future.

Legal foundation of spatial planning

The Constitution of Kosovo, which was ratified in 2008, is the primary legal foundation for spatial planning. The importance of sustainable development, environmental protection, and spatial planning as vital components of the general health and happiness of the population is emphasised in the Constitution.

Spatial planning is decentralised in Kosovo, and is essentially in the hands of the various municipal administrations. It is within the purview of each municipality, subject to compliance with national laws and regulations, to devise and carry out its own spatial planning initiatives. A supervisory role is played by the central government, which ensures that municipal plans are in line with national and regional development policies.

Current Law No. 04/L-174 on Spatial Planning entered into force on 23 August 2013, and abolished Law No. 2003/14 on Spatial Planning.

Authorities relevant to spatial policy: Important stakeholders in spatial planning

Spatial policy, which integrates spatial planning, environmental protection, sustainable urban development, land use planning, balanced urban-rural development, and infrastructure management, requires coordination among various stakeholders.

Responsible entities that exercise functions, powers and responsibilities in relation to spatial planning that are based on legislation: 

  1. National level: Assembly of Kosovo; Government of Kosovo; the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure and its associated departments and institutes.
  2. Local level: The Municipal Assembly and municipal authority are responsible for spatial planning and management.

The Assembly of Kosovo: The Assembly of Kosovo is responsible for the final approval of

  1. proposals for decisions on drafting the Spatial Plan of Kosovo and Spatial Plans for Special Zones after they are approved by the Government of Kosovo; 
  2. the Spatial Plan of Kosovo, after it is approved by the Government of Kosovo; 
  3. the Zoning Map of Kosovo after it is approved by the Government of Kosovo; 
  4. Spatial Plans for Special Zones after they are approved by the Government of Kosovo. 

The Assembly of Kosovo also reviews on an annual basis the monitoring report on the implementation of the goals and objectives of the Spatial Plan of Kosovo, the Zoning Map of Kosovo, and Spatial Plans for Special Zones prepared by the Government.

All spatial planning documents approved by the Assembly of Kosovo are published in the Official Gazette of Kosovo.

The Government of Kosovo is responsible for reviewing and approving:

  1. the Spatial Plan of Kosovo before it is submitted for approval to the Assembly of Kosovo; 
  2. the Zoning Map of Kosovo (including revisions thereto); 
  3. the Spatial Plans for Special Zones before they are submitted for approval to the Assembly of Kosovo (including revisions thereto).

The Government of Kosovo also drafts the annual monitoring report on the implementation of the goals and objectives of the Spatial Plan of Kosovo and Spatial Plans for Special Zones via the relevant ministry. The Government of Kosovo regularly coordinates and harmonises the policies and sectoral strategies of the relevant ministries, and coordinates the collection of reports on strategic development from each sector and submits them to the relevant ministry six months before the drafting of the Spatial Plan of Kosovo and the Zoning Map of Kosovo begins.

The Government of Kosovo is also responsible for allocating the funds for the drafting processes of all the mentioned plans, and for creating and maintaining the Consolidated Spatial Planning Database.

Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (MESPI): This ministry serves as a central authority responsible for guiding and overseeing spatial planning efforts in Kosovo, ensuring that spatial planning is developed and implemented in a coherent and sustainable manner. The ministry is responsible for developing and implementing environmental protection, land use and spatial planning policies at national level as well as those for Special Protection Areas such as national parks. It plays a central role in coordinating spatial development, environmental protection and infrastructure strategies and ensuring sustainable and orderly urban growth. Through its Institute for Spatial Planning, the ministry also designs Kosovo’s National Spatial Development Plan, Kosovo’s Zoning Map, and Spatial Development Plans for Special Protection Areas. The ministry also approves final drafts of Municipal Spatial Development Plans. Spatial Development Plans only enter into force after they have been given final approval by MESPI.

The Department for Spatial Planning, Construction and Housing within MESPI is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the development policies of MESPI through laws, policies and other provisions relating to spatial planning, construction, and housing. It also regulates the professions of architect and engineer in the construction sector.

The Institute for Spatial Planning is an integral part of the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure which, together with the Department of Spatial Planning, constitute the spatial planning sector within the Government of Kosovo. The institute’s main activity is the drafting of the Spatial Plan of Kosovo, the Zoning Map of Kosovo, and Spatial Plans for Special Protection Areas such as national parks and other special protection areas of environmental, cultural, and historic importance. The institute also drafts and develops plans for areas of particular significance to the state, and supports local municipalities in developing and preparing spatial development plans at the municipality scale.

The Kosovo Agency for Environmental Protection (KEPA) is a government institution which is committed to maintaining the quality of the air, water, soil, and biodiversity through integrated environmental monitoring, an efficient environmental information system, and continuous reporting on the state of the environment, as well as to promoting the use of renewable energy and the sustainable use of natural resources in order to provide a healthy environment for present and future generations in line with economic and social developments. 

The Kosovo Cadastral Agency is a central authority for maintaining the cadastral database, maintaining the property registers, cartography and GIS, the unified address system, the national spatial data infrastructure and for administering the Information Technology Infrastructure (IT) and the first and second data centres. As a central-level institution operating under MESPI, KCA has the jurisdiction to issue guidelines and frameworks for all cadastral activities, and is responsible for the training and certification of the Municipal Cadastral Officers for the operation of the Kosovo Cadastral Land Information System (KCLIS) and the training, certification, and licensing of surveyors and surveying companies providing cadastral services. 

Other ministries (e.g. Ministry of Regional Development; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development; Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports) assist the Institute for Spatial Planning in developing spatial planning in Kosovo. 

Municipalities: Local governments play a pivotal role in spatial planning within their catchment areas. They create local spatial development plans, regulate zoning, issue construction permits, and manage public spaces and infrastructure. The evaluation of local needs, the determination of appropriate land uses, and the promotion of sustainable development are municipal responsibilities. Local spatial plans must be approved by the Municipality Assemblies before they can enter into force.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs): CSOs advocate for community interests, engage in public consultations, and contribute to the development of spatial policies that reflect the needs and preferences of local residents.

Private sector and developers: Private sector entities and developers contribute to spatial development through investments in real estate, infrastructure, and urban projects. Their activities are often subject to the regulations set by spatial planning authorities.

Spatial planning instruments

National Spatial Plans offer a vision for Kosovo’s general development and focus on significant issues such as economic expansion, environmental protection, infrastructure development, cultural heritage protection, social inclusivity, etc. The National Spatial Plans are drafted for a minimum period of eight years, and are structured around 11 key areas, including economic activities and industry; social and public infrastructure; transport and mobility; natural and cultural assets; and the identification of special protection zones, water basins, water resources, green areas, etc. The National Spatial Development Plan 2010-2020+, which was officially adopted in June 2010, remains in effect at this time.

The Kosovo Zoning Map is another important document of spatial planning at national level. It addresses in more detail the vision and strategic objectives of the National Spatial Plan by focusing on the physical dimension of strategic spatial planning. Currently, Kosovo does not have any approved Zoning Maps. 

Spatial Plans for Special Protection Areas offer a vision, strategic objectives, and an action plan for protecting and promoting Kosovo’s specific areas of environmental, cultural, historic, and economic importance. Currently, the Spatial Plan for the Sharri National Park, the Spatial Plan for the Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park, the Spatial Plan for Mirusha Waterfalls, and others are among the most important such plans. The given plans are also followed by Management Plans which are an integral part of the spatial plans and are drafted for a shorter period. 

Municipal Spatial Development Plans set the vision, strategic objectives, and action plans for integrated spatial planning, sustainable economic development, social inclusivity, and the protection of natural resources and cultural assets for the municipality in question. These plans are drafted for a minimum period of eight years and cover 11 focus areas including demography and population growth projection, economic activities and industry, social and public infrastructure, transport and mobility, natural and cultural assets, waste management, waste water treatment, the water supply network, green areas and public areas, etc. Municipalities cannot provide construction permits based on this plan. 

The Municipal Zoning Map is a multi-sectoral document which employs graphs, photographs, maps and text to determine in detail the type, location, planned spatial use, and action measures based on the duration and justifiable projections for public and private investment for the entire municipality, for a period of at least eight years. This plan should be based on the vision and spatial development guidelines of the Municipal Spatial Development Plan. Municipalities can provide construction permits based on Municipal Zoning Maps.

Detailed Regulatory Plans can be prepared by municipalities to set the conditions for spatial development for all or any of the urban or rural zones defined by the Municipal Spatial Development Plan and Municipal Zoning Map.  Urban Regulatory Plans set the terms for construction.

 

 

Participation

The spatial planning process in Kosovo places a significant emphasis on the engagement of the general public. During the process of designing and revising spatial plans, opportunities are provided for citizens and other stakeholders to contribute feedback. This involvement guarantees that the plans will address the concerns and needs of the local community.

Authorisation process

Following the development of a Municipal Spatial Development Plan, it is subject to an evaluation and approval process. At the national level, the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure conducts an analysis to determine whether the plan is compatible with the various national strategies and policies. Once given the green light, the plan is subject to a vote in the Municipal Assembly, and only after the assembly has approved the plan does it become a legally enforceable document that acts as the foundation for future development within the municipality.

Interdependencies and mutual influences

Kosovo’s several layers of spatial planning are connected and impact one another. The national strategies determine the overall course of action of sectoral and local plans. The plans/strategies of different sectors and ministries should also take account of the National Spatial Development Plan as the most important spatial, socio-economic, and infrastructural development document. The municipal plans are harmonised with the national plans and strategies, maintaining coherence on all levels. The municipal plans are also harmonised with neighbouring municipalities’ plans, particularly in terms of infrastructure and environmental protection areas.

In conclusion, the process is directed by the Constitution, in addition to other planning documents at the national and local levels. The participation of the public and cooperation across different levels of planning help to guarantee that development is in line with sustainable principles and the community’s needs.

Formal planning

Formal planning in Kosovo is characterised by established processes and legal instruments mandated by statutory laws and regulations. These mechanisms drive the creation and implementation of national and municipal spatial plans. These plans are essential blueprints for guiding development in alignment with legal requirements and governmental strategies.

Informal planning and soft planning

Alongside formal planning, Kosovo has witnessed instances of informal or soft planning approaches. These methods include non-statutory planning strategies, community-based initiatives, and participatory processes. While these approaches might not hold legal weight, they are pivotal in addressing localised needs and perspectives. Community involvement and local stakeholder engagement in shaping development can help foster a sense of ownership and inclusivity.

Influence from the European Union (EU)

The legal framework and policies of the European Union have had a considerable impact on Kosovo’s spatial planning system, mainly due to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). EU ideas addressing spatial planning, environmentally sustainable development, and environmental conservation have significantly influenced Kosovo’s planning practices. By harmonising its planning legislation with the criteria established by the EU, Kosovo intends to encourage economic growth, improve infrastructure, and advance environmentally responsible practices. Article 4 (Principles) of Kosovo’s Law No. 04/L-174 on Spatial Planning encourages the ‘promotion of continuous harmonisation with best international practices and European principles for spatial planning’.

Spatial planning challenges and policy debates:

Land disputes: Historical conflicts and uncertainties surrounding property rights contribute to land ownership disputes, posing significant challenges to the planning process.

Infrastructure development: Striking a balance between advancing infrastructure while preserving environmental integrity and cultural heritage sites remains an ongoing dilemma.

Informal settlements: The presence of informal settlements and unregulated urban development poses governance and planning challenges that must be addressed effectively.

Monitoring processes: Kosovo lacks successful practices for monitoring the implementation of spatial plans at both national and municipal levels. Even though monitoring instruments are in place and institutions are granted direct powers for monitoring, this process could be considered among the weakest areas in the planning system in Kosovo. This situation has contributed to the continuation of unpermitted construction and the loss of agricultural land.

Anticipatory and preventive planning: Even though the legal framework of spatial planning tends to promote anticipatory and preventive planning – and the necessary tools for this are in place – the practical reality shows that current planning practices remain inadequate in this aspect.

Stakeholder participation: Ensuring the meaningful involvement of local communities and stakeholders in the planning process is a persistent concern for comprehensive and inclusive development.

Economic development: Balancing economic growth, social equity, and environmental conservation is a central policy debate that influences Kosovo’s spatial planning trajectory.

The spatial planning system in Kosovo encapsulates a dynamic interplay between formal and informal planning approaches to align with EU standards and address local needs. 

By navigating challenges and engaging in ongoing policy debates, Kosovo strives to create a sustainable and prosperous future for its citizens while preserving its cultural heritage and natural resources.

At present, Kosovo faces a notable absence of regional plans, which could play a pivotal role in unlocking the full potential of its seven distinct regions. These regional plans would not only facilitate more efficient collaboration among municipalities for projects on a regional scale, but also contribute to the country’s overall development.

Furthermore, Kosovo faces a lack of published literature in the field of spatial planning. There is only a limited body of work dedicated to the subject, making it challenging for stakeholders to access comprehensive information and insights. Therefore, further research publications on Kosovo’s planning system are recommended.

 

Figure 3: Planning System of Kosovo

Figure 3: Planning System of Kosovo

Important stakeholders

Institution/stakeholder/authority (including webpage) Special interest/competences/administrative area
The Assembly of Kosovo The Assembly of Kosovo is responsible for the final approval of  a)       proposals for decisions on drafting the Spatial Plan of Kosovo and Spatial Plans for Special Zones after they are approved by the Government of Kosovo; b)      the Spatial Plan of Kosovo, the Zoning Map of Kosovo and Spatial Plans for Special Zones after their approval by the Government of Kosovo.
The Government of Kosovo The Government of Kosovo is responsible for reviewing and approving a)       the Spatial Plan of Kosovo, b)      the Zoning Map of Kosovo, and c)       Spatial Plans for Special Zones before their submission to the Assembly of Kosovo for final approval.
Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (MESPI) The Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure serves as a central authority responsible for guiding and overseeing spatial planning efforts in Kosovo, ensuring that spatial planning is developed and implemented in a coherent and sustainable manner.
The Institute for Spatial Planning The Institute for Spatial Planning is an integral part of the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure and, together with the Department of Spatial Planning, constitutes the spatial planning function in the Government of Kosovo. The main activity of this institute is the drafting of the Spatial Plan and Zoning Map of Kosovo, along with the creation of plans for areas of particular significance to the state, such as Special Protection Areas.
Department for Spatial Planning, Construction and Housing (within MESPI) The Department for Spatial Planning, Construction and Housing within MESPI is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the development policies of the ministry through laws and other provisions that fall under the department’s remit.
Kosovo Agency for Environmental Protection (KEPA) The Kosovo Agency for Environmental Protection (KEPA) is a government institution which is committed to maintaining the quality of the air, water, soil, and biodiversity through integrated environmental monitoring, maintaining an efficient environmental information system and continuous reporting on the state of the environment, and to promoting the use of renewable energy and the sustainable use of natural resources in order to provide a healthy environment for present and future generations in line with economic and social developments. This agency also operates within MESPI.
Kosovo Cadastral Agency The Kosovo Cadastral Agency is a central authority for maintaining the cadastral database, maintaining the property registers, cartography, GIS, the unified address system, the national spatial data infrastructure and the for administering the Information Technology Infrastructure (IT), and the first and second data centres. As a central-level institution operating under MESPI, KCA has the jurisdiction to issue guidelines and frameworks for all cadastral activities, and is responsible for the training and certification of the Municipal Cadastral Officers for the operation of the Kosovo Cadastral Land Information System (KCLIS) and the training, certification, and licensing of surveyors and surveying companies providing cadastral services. 
Other ministries Other ministries (e.g. Ministry of Regional Development; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development; Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports) assist the Institute for Spatial Planning in developing spatial planning in Kosovo.
Municipalities Municipalities: Local governments play a pivotal role in spatial planning within their catchment areas. They create local spatial development plans, regulate zoning, issue construction permits, and manage public spaces and infrastructure.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) CSOs advocate for community interests, engage in public consultations, and contribute to the development of spatial policies that reflect the needs and preferences of local residents.
Private sector and developers Private sector entities and developers contribute to spatial development through investments in real estate, infrastructure, and urban projects. Their activities are often subject to the regulations set by spatial planning authorities.

Fact sheets

Attachments

  • Attachment 1: Map of Kosovo

List of references

ASK (2020) Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Kosovo’. Available at: https://ask.rks-gov.net/media/5641/vjetari-2020-final-per-web-ang.pdf

ASK (2022) ‘ESTIMATION Population of Kosovo in 2021’. Available at: https://ask.rks-gov.net/media/7534/estimation-population-in-kosovo-2021.pdf

BTI Transformation Index (no date) Kosovo Country Report 2022, BTI 2022. Available at: https://bti-project.org/en/reports/country-report?isocode=RKS&cHash=3c5a250a57b63356b3030eb024ebae5b (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Central Intelligence Agency) (2023) Kosovo, The World Factbook. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/kosovo/ (Accessed: 14 August 2023).

European Commission (no date) Country Fact Sheets based on the Degree of Urbanisation, Global Human Settlement - Degree of Urbanisation - European Commission. Available at: https://ghsl.jrc.ec.europa.eu/CFS.php (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

European Environment Agency (no date) Kosovo country profile - SDGs and the environment — European Environment Agency. Available at: https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/sustainability-transitions/sustainable-development-goals-and-the/country-profiles/kosovo-country-profile-sdgs-and (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Giz (no date) Spatial Planning and Land Management II. Available at: https://www.giz.de/en/worldwide/79329.html (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Municipality of Peja. Municipal Development Plan 2020-2028. Available at: https://kk.rks-gov.net/peje/plani-zhvillimor-komunal-i-pejes-2020-2028/ (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Law No. 04/L-174 on Spatial Planning. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=8865  (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

 Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Admnistrative Instruction MESP- No. 08/2017 on Spatial Planning Technical Norms. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=14822 (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Administrative Instruction MESP – No. 11/2015 On Sections and Basic Requirements for Design, Implementation and Monitoring of Municipal Development Plan. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=11671 (Accessed: 19 November 2023).

ASK (2020) Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Kosovo’. Available at: https://ask.rks-gov.net/media/5641/vjetari-2020-final-per-web-ang.pdf

ASK (2022) ‘ESTIMATION Population of Kosovo in 2021’. Available at: https://ask.rks-gov.net/media/7534/estimation-population-in-kosovo-2021.pdf

BTI Transformation Index (no date) Kosovo Country Report 2022, BTI 2022. Available at: https://bti-project.org/en/reports/country-report?isocode=RKS&cHash=3c5a250a57b63356b3030eb024ebae5b (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Central Intelligence Agency) (2023) Kosovo, The World Factbook. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/kosovo/ (Accessed: 14 August 2023).

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European Environment Agency (no date) Kosovo country profile - SDGs and the environment — European Environment Agency. Available at: https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/sustainability-transitions/sustainable-development-goals-and-the/country-profiles/kosovo-country-profile-sdgs-and (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Giz (no date) Spatial Planning and Land Management II. Available at: https://www.giz.de/en/worldwide/79329.html (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Municipality of Peja. Municipal Development Plan 2020-2028. Available at: https://kk.rks-gov.net/peje/plani-zhvillimor-komunal-i-pejes-2020-2028/ (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Law No. 04/L-174 on Spatial Planning. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=8865  (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

 Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Admnistrative Instruction MESP- No. 08/2017 on Spatial Planning Technical Norms. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=14822 (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Administrative Instruction MESP – No. 11/2015 On Sections and Basic Requirements for Design, Implementation and Monitoring of Municipal Development Plan. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=11671 (Accessed: 19 November 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo, Spatial Plan National Park “Bjeshkët e Nemuna” (Assembly Of The Republic Of Kosovo). Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=78122 (Accessed: 19 November 2023).

OECD (2022) ‘Labour Migration in the Western Balkans:  Mapping Patterns, Addressing Challenges and Reaping Benefits’. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/south-east-europe/programme/Labour-Migration-report.pdf

Republic of Kosovo (2010) ‘Kosovo Spatial Plan 2010-2020+’. Available at: https://mmphi.rks-gov.net/Others/Division?DivisionID=57 (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Republic of Kosovo (2013a) ‘Law on spatial planning’. Available at: http://old.kuvendikosoves.org/common/docs/ligjet/Law%20on%20spatial%20planning.pdf (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

Republic of Kosovo (2013c) ‘SPATIAL PLAN NATIONAL PARK “SHARRI”’. Available at: https://mountainspiritvolunteers.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/spatial-plan_phpk_sharri_ang-_459845.pdf (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

UNDP (no date) ‘KOSOVO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2016’. Available at: https://hdr.undp.org/system/files/documents/humandevelopmentreport2016pdf.pdf

Vitorovič, Z. (2009) The legislation and analysis of the implementation of spatial and urban planning in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Republika Srpska, and Turkey as compares to the case of Denmark. NALAS.

World Bank (no date) World Bank Open Data, World Bank Open Data. Available at: https://data.worldbank.org (Accessed: 3 October 2023).

 ASK (2020): Statistical yearbook of the Republic of Kosovo. Available at: https://askapi.rks-gov.net/Custom/ea72d11d-1f1b-4b17-9b33-8563e80cdabe.pdf (5 March 2024). 

ASK (2022): Estimation population of Kosovo in 2021. Available at: https://askapi.rks-gov.net/Custom/1b49ac85-a166-4c0d-b6e2-a79c32a825ae.pdf(5 March 2024).

Central Intelligence Agency (2023): Kosovo, The world factbook. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/kosovo/ (14 August 2023).

European Commission (n.d.): Country fact sheets based on the degree of urbanisation. Available at: https://ghsl.jrc.ec.europa.eu/CFS.php (3 October 2023).

European Environment Agency (n.d.): Kosovo country profile – SDGs and the environment. Available at: https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/sustainability-transitions/sustainable-development-goals-and-the/country-profiles/kosovo-country-profile-sdgs-and (3 October 2023).

Municipality of Peja (n.d.): Plani Zhvillimor Komunal i Pejës 2020-2028 (Municipal development plan 2020-2028). Available at: https://kk.rks-gov.net/peje/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2020/02/PZHK_Peja_2019_DS_09012021.docx (19 November 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2013): Law No. 04/L-174 on spatial planning. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=8865 (19 November 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2017): Administrative instruction MESP No. 08/2017 on spatial planning, Technical norms. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=14822 (19 November 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2015): Administrative instruction MESP No. 11/2015 on sections and basic requirements for design, implementation and monitoring of municipal development plan. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=11671 (19 November 2023). 

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2023): Spatial Plan National Park ‘Bjeshkët e Nemuna’ (Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo). Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=78122 (19 November 2023).

OECD (2022): Labour migration in the Western Balkans: Mapping patterns, addressing challenges and reaping benefits. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/south-east-europe/programme/Labour-Migration-report.pdf (22 November 2023).

Republic of Kosovo (2010): Kosovo Spatial Plan 2010-2020+. Available at: https://mmphi.rks-gov.net/Others/Division?DivisionID=57 (3 October 2023).

Republic of Kosovo (2013a): Law on spatial planning. Available at: http://old.kuvendikosoves.org/common/docs/ligjet/Law%20on%20spatial%20planning.pdf (3 October 2023).

Republic of Kosovo (2013c): Spatial Plan National Park ‘Sharri’. Available at: https://mountainspiritvolunteers.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/spatial-plan_phpk_sharri_ang-_459845.pdf (3 October 2023).

UNDP (n.d.): Kosovo human development report 2016. Available at: https://hdr.undp.org/system/files/documents/humandevelopmentreport2016pdf.pdf  (3 October 2023).

Vitorovič, Z. (2009): The Legislation and analysis of the implementation of spatial and urban planning in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Republika Srpska and Turkey as compares to the case of Denmark. NALAS– Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/10180968/The_Legislation_and_analysis_of_the_implementation_of_spatial_and_urban_planning_in_Albania_Kosovo_Macedonia_Moldova_Republika_Srpska_and_Turkey_as_compares_to_the_case_of_Denmark  (5 March 2024).

World Bank (n.d.): World Bank open data. Available at: https://data.worldbank.org (3 October 2023).

ASK – Kosovo Agency of Statistics (n.d.): Total population of Kosovo and migration for the year, 2017-2022. Available at: https://askdata.rks-gov.net/pxweb/sq/ASKdata/ASKdata__Population__Estimate,%20projection%20and%20structure%20of%20population__Population%20estimate/tab02.px/table/tableViewLayout1/ (12 October 2023).

The World Bank (2023): Overview. Country context. Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/kosovo/overview#1 (3 October 2023).

OECD (n.d.): 15. Kosovo: economy profile. Available at: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/ec7a78a6-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/ec7a78a6-en (3 October 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2013): Law No. 04/L-174 on spatial planning. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=8865 (3 October 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2013): Administrative instruction MESP No. 08/2017 on spatial planning, Technical norms. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=14822 (12 October 2023).

Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo (2013): Administrative instruction MESP No. 11/2015 on sections and basic requirements for design, implementation and monitoring of municipal development plan. Available at: https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=11671 (12 October 2023).

Municipality of Peja (n.d.): Plani Zhvillimor Komunal i Pejës 2020-2028 (Municipal development plan 2020-2028). Available at: https://kk.rks-gov.net/peje/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2020/02/PZHK_Peja_2019_DS_09012021.docx (12 October 2023).