UNDP's Sustainable Development portfolio proposes an integrated approach that looks at the pace and patterns of growth as well as its implications in terms of equity and equality. It reaffirms the primacy of skilled, active and inclusive labour force and strong private sector as the main vehicles for job-rich growth that ensures decent work opportunities for broad portions of Kosovans from all backgrounds. In this context, it underlines the importance of offering opportunities for people who tend to be most left behind due to discrimination, geography, inadequate governance, socio-economic status, or vulnerability to shocks and fragility. In particular, we work with women, youth, as well as in the recent years with returnees to Kosovo, who face numerous compounded barriers to a thriving socioeconomic life.
In the context where unemployment and inactivity rates are extremely high, in particular among women and youth, the portfolio designs and runs projects that generally apply two-pronged approaches employing two of UNDP’s six Signature Solutions at once: on one hand aiding public institutions to design more responsive, better-informed, and more inclusive employment-related policies and programmes and deliver integrated services for the public, and, on the other hand, in collaboration with public service providers, the private sector and the civil society offering direct opportunities for women and men to develop new skills, gain employment or start own small enterprises, or expand production and generate additional income.
Labour Market Reforms
UNDP works closely with public institutions to stimulate an enabling environment for an effectively and efficiently-operating labour market. Supporting the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Employment Agency, we have introduced programmes, systems and tools for more tailored and responsive services to jobseekers that provide them with opportunities to gain new skills, find employment or launch own small businesses. This includes the flagship active labour market measures, with over 14,000 women and men having participated in these programmes since 2005. We also conduct research to better inform the design of policies of programmes of public institutions, as well as invest into outreach to provide information about the available services and help people move from economic inactivity to being active jobseekers, especially in the context where only 20% of women of working age have a job or are looking for one, and close to a third of young people are “NEET” (not in education, employment or training).
Private Sector Development
Current growth rates in Kosovo, while among the fastest in the region, are not accompanied with wide-spread creation of jobs and the job market can provide employment opportunities for only a fraction of those entering it every year. In such settings, measures for self-employment and business start-up support are promoted, combined with encouragement of business growth. We tailor such approach in Kosovo and in collaboration with public institutions we finance formation of new businesses operating in economic sectors with growth potential through the Self-Employment Programme and other grant programmes especially in rural areas. Entrepreneurship training, grants and mentorship is provided to women and men, including from among the repatriated Kosovans, who are courageous and willing to enter the world of business by which they not only secure jobs and better lives for themselves and their families, but also generate work opportunities for the community as they grow. Moreover, we support established businesses with access to knowledge products on value chains, economic sectors, export requirements and destinations, or international quality standards, and offer technical training and business-to-business networking. Finally, we have assisted the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Kosovo Investment and Enterprise Support Agency in delivering their mandate and providing services for attracting investment, stimulating exports and business growth.
Local Socioeconomic Development
Through signature solutions such as the Territorial Employment Pacts, we mobilize local-level actors in rural areas to help local economies grow inclusively. UNDP with partners offers in-kind or financial grants and technical trainings and advisory services to smallholder, family-based farmers or business initiatives to upgrade their rural enterprises with new tools, materials, or equipment in order to create additional jobs, strengthen income generation for families and community, and contribute to import substitution of agricultural products in Kosovo also with the aim of reducing the heavily negative trade balance Kosovo has. Importantly, we work with municipalities to embed transparent mechanisms for allocating public funds to civil society, expand and improve local services delivered through CSOs in response to priorities of local communities, and promote better dialogue between civil society and public municipal institutions.