Combating corruption in Kosovo

Project completed
Four young developers sitting at a table discussing IT solutions designed to help the municipality create more transparency.
In Gjakova, a hackathon brings together developers looking for IT solutions to help the municipality create more transparency. © SDC

Corruption is rampant among Kosovo’s public institutions and undermines citizens’ trust in the system. The SDC is supporting a project designed to address this problem by promoting transparency in institutions and encouraging citizens to report abuses.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Anti-corruption organisations
01.05.2016 - 30.06.2020
CHF  2’855’500

Corruption is widespread in Kosovo, which ranks last among the Western Balkans in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index. Corruption permeates the system, from local governments and administrations to the judicial and health sectors. It weakens democratic institutions and hinders economic development, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of citizens. This young state is in the process of implementing modern standards in its public administration and therefore has limited resources available to fight corruption. And its efforts do not enjoy the support of political authorities, who are resistant to change.

The SDC and the Danish government are co-financing a project run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aimed at reducing administrative corruption and the abuse of power in public institutions and the judicial sector. It seeks to make citizens aware of the important role that they can play. It is hoped that these efforts to promote transparent and accountable institutions will encourage the development of political will.

The “Support to Anti-Corruption Efforts” project

Following the end of the first phase (2012–2015) of the ’Support to Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kosovo’ project, the second phase (SAEK II) is being implemented at various levels:

  • Anti-corruption institutions are being strengthened in their task of monitoring institutions. This is achieved through technical expertise and the exchange of best practices between European countries, which will help measure and prevent corruption. Institutions are also encouraged to develop a policy and laws in line with the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
  • As part of the effort to guide institutions towards transparency and accountability, integrity plans are being developed to monitor how efficient the institutions are and how well they are run. Assessment grids are being created and used to gauge their performance, while tools are being developed to increase their transparency by publishing information on the internet.
    In Gjakova, for example, 55 young developers participated in a hackathon – a collaborative programming event – in an attempt to find innovative solutions to the municipality’s problems. An online hiring process was among the new services that will be developed.
  • In an effort to strengthen citizens’ and civil society’s right to accountable institutions, platforms are being set up to make it easier for anti-corruption bodies and civil society to share information. Educational activities that raise people’s awareness of this issue are also being run. They are meant to empower all citizens, especially the most marginalised groups, and to restore their trust in institutions.

Successfully reporting bribe solicitations

Since 2012, citizens have used to report some 4,000 cases of corruption or public services that do not meet minimum standards. Each case is reviewed by a team of professionals with legal and journalistic expertise who are associated with that website. If there are sufficient grounds, the complaints are forwarded to the authorities concerned, which must then respond to the charges. If sufficient grounds are lacking, the media are used to apply political pressure. Some cases are eventually prosecuted. The website is increasingly used, and municipalities commonly put a link to it on their own website. A number of surveys show that citizens consider it one of the most trusted institutions today.