Integrated Water Resources Management in Kosovo (IWRM-K) Program Phase 1

In Kosovo, based on its long-standing engagement in the water services area, the SDC sets out to support over the next decade the establishment of an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach with related institutional capacities and people’s skills. Based on its performance in the one-year inception phase of intervention design, Skat Consulting Ltd. in association with the EAA was mandated to implement the Phase 1 of the IWRM-K Program. Under Skat lead and general management, the initial four years of the Program will deploy a technical capacity building and institutional development approach catalysing the framework, knowledge, processes, tools and resources needed to achieve the objectives of the river basin management planning as key element shaping the Kosovar sustainable water management agenda.


Republic of Kosovo

Project Period:

May 2024 – April 2029 (Phase 2)
May 2020 – April 2024 (Phase 1)
May 2019 – April 2020 (Inception Phase)

Services Provided:

Program implementation / Coaching

Name of Staff involved and functions performed:

Frank Wiederkehr (Program director), Roger Schmid (Program manager), Birgit Toernell (CFO), Dimitrija Sekovski (Team leader), local team (4 senior advisors, 6 junior professionals, 2 support staff)

Name of Client(s):

SDC – Swiss Cooperation Office in Kosovo (SCO)

Name of Partner Organisation(s):

Environment Agency Austria (EAA)
World University Services (WUS)

Description of the Project:

Kosovo is one of the most water-stressed countries in Southeast Europe due to its specific natural features combined with human pressure: lack of investments in water infrastructure, inefficient water use and water pollution from mining, untreated wastewaters, as well as agricultural runoff. Growing demand for water amplifies the challenge. Modifications of streams and natural basin structure heighten the risk of droughts and floods. Impacts of climate change increase the vulnerability of ecosystems and economy. The trans-boundary character of the four river basins further complicates water management. Although the National Water Policy promotes an IWRM approach and the related Law of Waters introduces contemporary EU-based water management practices, a functioning IWRM framework is not yet in place in Kosovo.

Against this backdrop, the SDC engaged to support the establishment of such an IWRM framework backed by properly capacitated institutions in the country over the next decade. The 12 months Program inception phase Skat was entrusted with afore encompassed a comprehensive stocktaking exercise as well as an intensive process of strategic visioning carried out with the key stakeholders to map the IWRM needs and opportunities, and to identify the priorities. The assessments focused mainly on what institutions in Kosovo should do and what they can do regarding IWRM functions: of particular interest were data and information systems and management, planning and financial instruments, and education and professional skills.

The aim of IWRM-K as per inception phase design endorsed by the donor is now to engage transformation towards effectively improved capacities and a strengthened role of the newly established Ministry of Infra-structure and Environment, and especially the River Basin District Authority, as key institutions for river basin management. The Program invariably links technical capacity building and institutional development. It is designed to catalyse the framework, knowledge, financial and other resources required to achieve the objectives of the River Basin Management Plans, which are the key documents for shaping the Kosovar sustainable water resource management agenda. Skills development of water professionals, particularly younger women and men, and job creation will be crucial. The IWRM-K will also support the institutions to nurture public awareness of environmental issues and enhancement of citizen engagement.

The consortium composed of Skat Consulting Ltd. (Skat) and Environment Agency Austria (EAA) acts as implementing organization of the Program. Skat leads the consortium and represents the associates in its dealings with the client. With its management team at headquarters ensuring the strategic lead and overall steering of Program delivery, Skat also deploys and supervises the team of 10 professionals at the local Program Facilitation Unit (PFU) in Pristina as well as the specific thematic experts subcontracted from World University Services (WUS) Austria and possibly other organizations going to be identified as per arising needs. EAA provides expertise by deploying key advisors and a pool of experts as peer support to personnel of the Kosovar partner institutions and as thematic backstopping to the PFU.