The development of Civil Society (Organizations, CSO) in Kosovo remains low and poor, in spite of several years of experience as activism. Out of 8,500 registered CSOs and a few other unregistered initiatives, the number of active CSOs is estimated to be around 1,500. Only less than 1,000 CSOs had financial activities or employees in 2015. Most of the sector is comprised of small CSOs considering the size of funding and staff members. Furthermore, CSOs based in Pristina and other regional centers in Kosovo dominate the sector. The trend of registration of new CSOs has been stage for the past six years, with around 500 newly registered CSOs every year.
Until now, many Kosovar CSOs have reached a solid level of work and demonstrated a sustainable and professional organizational approach toward fulfilling their mission. They created different sectorial networks and platforms. Among others, environmental CSOs (ECSO) are very important players in tackling Kosovo’s environmental problems. Not only they can complement government’s work in the implementation of the National Environmental Action Plan, but also, they can slow down and reverse the current trends of environmental degradation by engaging all stakeholders, including central government, local authorities, private sector, and other CSOs.
In 2010, Kosovo became a member of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to address national and regional environmental issues such as climate change, land and biodiversity degradation, unsustainable uses of natural resources, and pollution from chemical and waste. In 2015, Kosovo received the first grant of $1 million and started its first GEF MSPproject in the focal area of international waters (“Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the White Drin and the Extended Drin Basin”) .
However, Kosovo is still not benefiting from the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP), the dedicated GEF funding for the civil society. As Kosovo has not obtain the official membership of the United Nations yet, access to not only the relevant UN Conventions but also vertical funds in environment, such as GEF and Global Climate Fund has become barriers for Kosovar ECSOs. In this regard, a dedicated and medium-term funding mechanism is necessary to effectively engage Kosovo’s CSOs in addressing the issues of a poor management of natural resources and environmental degradation, including through behavioral change and local action. This would also ensure sustainability and growth of CSOs.
Built upon the point aforementioned, through the project ‘Sustainable Environmental Civil Society (SPECIES) with Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) support, implemented jointly by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) and UNDP Kosovo, we aim to establish the foundation of GEF-SGP in Kosovo, through capacity building workshops and trainings and the opportunities of networking and establishing partnerships for Kosovar ESCOs. This work will be done together with Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Ministry for European Integration, and responsible local authorities.
 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
Objectives of Assignment
The overall objective of this assignment is to contribute to empower environmental civil society actors in Kosovo in accordance with required knowledge and principles on access to Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Program (GEF – SGP), by establishing the National Steering Committee (NSC), and developing outlined framework national strategy for GEF-SGP in Kosovo.