Trust-building in Kosovo gains new momentum: Apathy and failure are not options

23 Nov 2023

Trust-building in Kosovo gains new momentum: Apathy and failure are not options

THESSALONIKI, 23 November 2023 – The UNMIK-hosted United Nations Kosovo Trust-building Forum: Supporting Togetherness for a Better Future concluded today in Thessaloniki, giving trust-building in Kosovo new momentum.

Over the last three days, 120 committed representatives of the civil society, media and institutions from different Kosovo communities worked to develop a renewed trust-building roadmap.

The roadmap, covering the areas of the rule of law, language rights, media, civic participation and inclusion, economic empowerment, and environment, includes concrete recommendations and action points for improving inter-community relations and helping Kosovo progress as a multi-ethnic and democratic society, based on the respect of human rights and rule of law.

“Together, you have developed 27 recommendations and related specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound action points to achieve real progress in taking forward the trust-building agenda in Kosovo,” said SRSG and Head of UNMIK, Caroline Ziadeh, addressing the Forum participants.

“Now begins the next, and perhaps the most critical, stage of our work in implementing these recommendations, and we will do so with a renewed sense of hope, renewed energy, and renewed personal connections. We choose solidarity and cooperation over isolationism and division, knowing that apathy and failure are not options.”

The key recommendations and related action points include:

  • Promoting, protecting and raising awareness of language rights as an enabler of other human rights;
  • Encouraging joint/co-owned businesses by members of majority and non-majority communities;
  • Filtering out political influence on the media, fighting disinformation, and fostering platforms and venues for cooperation among media;
  • Enhancing inclusion and social services for vulnerable social groups and building efficient communication capacity of institutions in providing services for all communities;
  • Increasing transparency, accountability, and public trust in the rule of law institutions, improving access to justice, and protecting and promoting language rights within legal proceedings; and
  • Greening the Kosovo economy through partnership with the private sector, creating economic incentives for environment-related businesses and promoting principles of circular economy.

Through its continued engagement, UNMIK will support civil society, media, and Kosovo institutions in implementing the action points, which will also guide UNMIK's programmatic and trust-building efforts.

International and regional leaders, including Baroness Catherine Ashton, former European Union HR/VP, Vesna Pusić, former Croatian Foreign Minister, Giovanni Pietro Barbano, Head of EULEX Mission, Eva Palatova, Deputy Head of the EU Office in Kosovo joined the forum. They offered their views and advice on how to further trust in all spheres of life in Kosovo.

“In the words of the Secretary-General, we can move forward with hope, conviction, and each other,” said SRSG Ziadeh.