Integrated Water Resources Management in Kosovo (IWRM-K) – Program Inception Phase

In Kosovo, the SDC aims a supporting over the next decade the establishment of an IWRM approach and related capacities, and tendered out late 2018 the inception and first phase of the IWRM-K Program. Skat Counting Ltd. in consortium with the Environment Agency Austria was awarded the mandate and launched in May 2019 the one-year inception phase for the IWRM-K. The inception is expected to carry out a co-design process with the local partners to identify measures to be funded as part of the four years phase 1.


Republic of Kosovo

Project Period:

May 2019 – April 2020

Services Provided:

Consultancy / Program Design

Name of Staff involved and functions performed:

Roger Schmid (Program director & quality assurance), Florian Klingel (Program manager & inception lead), Danijela Djordjevic (CFO), Dimitrija Sekovski (team leader, expatriate), local staff (7 consultants)

Name of Client(s)

SDC – Swiss Cooperation Office in Kosovo (SCO)

Name of Partner Organisation(s):

Environment Agency Austria (EAA)
World University Services (WUS)
KEK-CDC Consultants

Description of the Project:

Kosovo is among the most water stressed countries in Southeast Europe because of its specific natural features, history of lack of investments in water infrastructure, inefficient water use in agriculture and other economic sectors, as well as high levels of pollution. The stress levels are expected to grow in the future in light of the climate crisis and the increased water demand for agriculture, industrial operations, mining and urban centres. The management of water resources in Kosovo becomes even more complex considering the transboundary character of its four river basins (Drini i Bardhë, Ibër, Morava e Binçës and Lepenc).

The strategy of the IWRM-K is founded upon the principles of contemporary water management concepts and approaches that focus on the introduction of efficient and sustainable use of water resources and balancing the conflicting interests in water management. The Program aims to build long-lasting capacities for a wise use and protection of water resources, in line with the socio-economic and political priorities, as well as the needs of future sustainable development. It aims to help replace an outdated, traditional, and fragmented approach with a more comprehensive, dynamic and highly participatory approach of managing water resources at river basin scale. Hence, over the coming years, the IWRM-K will help create the enabling environment for such transformation of Kosovo’s water resources management through:

  • Support to development of institutional capacity in the water sector and creation of stakeholder participation mechanisms
  • Preparation of planning and technical documentation base to inform future investments and water resource management decisions (e.g., River Basin Management Plans)
  • Support to knowledge and skills development of water professionals and assistance in job creation
  • Fostering public awareness raising and citizens’ engagement; and
  • Accelerating the adoption of the new water resource management through a grants programme supporting priority measures.

The ongoing inception is expected to carry out a co-design process with the local partners to identify measures to be funded as part of the four years phase 1. This encompasses a comprehensive stocktaking exercise evaluating the effects of current policies, past and ongoing projects, while making the best use of achievements to date. Strategic visioning is carried with the key stakeholders to map IWRM needs and opportunities for Kosovo, and to identify the priorities. The assessments focus on crucial building blocks such as institutional capacities, financial instruments, water information system, and professional skills needed. Accordingly, the inception phase primarily focuses on:

  • Carrying out a capacity development needs assessment in the water and other related sectors;
  • Formulating the Program Document that will guide future SDC funding decisions; and
  • Mobilizing, engaging and committing stakeholders for the upcoming implementation phase.