According to the results of the census conducted in 2011, Kosovo has a population of over 1.7 million inhabitants. The Albanian majority constitutes over 90% of the population, with less than 10% being composed of national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious minority groups, traditionally present in Kosovo. Out of the 1.7 million Kosovars, 1.644.865 speak Albanian as their mother tongue, with the second biggest mother tongue in Kosovo being Bosnian with 28.989 speakers, and third biggest being Serbian with 27.983 according to the same census.
Within the past 10 years, Kosovo has developed a comprehensive legislative and institutional framework for the protection of minority communities, which has been further reaffirmed by the decentralization of public administration. The rights and status of these communities are recognized in the Constitution and in specific legislation. In this line, the Constitution guarantees members of all communities, regardless of their ethnic background and total proportion, the right to express, maintain and develop their culture and preserve their language individually or in community.
Accordingly, the Kosovo legal framework for the protection of language rights, obliges all public institutions and service providers to ensure the equal use and status of the two official languages, Albanian and Serbian. At the same time, languages of other communities traditionally residing in Kosovo may be granted the status of official languages or languages in official use at the municipal level, in accordance to conditions prescribed by the Law on the Use of Languages, which regulates the use of languages in central and municipal institutions; public enterprises; judicial proceedings; education; media; personal names; and the private sphere.
As required by this law, in 2007 the government established a Language Commission to monitor and ensure its implementation. However, the existence of the Language Commission was not significantly known among public institutions and the general public, and thus had limited real impact on people living in Kosovo. Furthermore, the Language Comission faced several obstacles that hindered its operational capacity such as inadequate budgetary, technical and human resources.
As result of an initiative of the OCA/OPM, a reform process of the Language Commission was initiated in 2011, which resulted with the adoption of the Government Regulation No 07/2012 on the mandate and establishment of the Office of the Language Commissioner of the Republic of Kosovo (OLC), an institution that became functional in 2013.
Despite the paramount importance of language rights in Kosovo, and the described institutional and legal mechanisms, given its recent appointment, and the persistently inadequate implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages, the OLC needs further capacity building support in order to be able to fully implement its mandate and to safeguard the institutional compliance with the Law on the Use of Languages in Kosovo.
Furthermore, there is a broad consensus that M&E constitutes one of the key challenges in ensuring the effective implementation of Kosovo’s extensive legislative and policy framework for the protection and promotion of community rights, such as language rights.
In order to address this situation, the project ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Language Rights: Towards Strengthening Institutional Compliance with the Kosovo Law on the Use of Languages ’ seeks to support the work and mandate of the OLC by strengthening the technical capacities of the OLC and providing expert support to monitor and enhance the institutional compliance with the Law on the Use of Languages.
Aim and Objectives:
The overall aim of the project ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Language Rights: Towards Strengthening Institutional Compliance with the Kosovo Law on the Use of Languages ’is to improve the enforcement of language rights in Kosovo.
ECMI has designed three project objectives that will contribute to making progress towards the overall aim:
- Objective 1: To identify the shortfalls in the implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages and the enforcement of language rights by conducting a thorough and comprehensive study to monitor the situation of the use of languages within the OLC and the Kosovo institutions that fall under its jurisdiction, thorough the use of indicators.
- Objective 2: To address the shortfalls in the implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages and the enforcement of language rights by increasing the technical capacities of the responsible institutions.
- Objective 3: To monitor the implementation and impact of the project.
Expected Results and Activities:
- Result 1: Improvement of access to public services for Kosovo’s minority communities through improved enforcement of language rights in Kosovo.
- Result 2: Promote that the OLC and the institutions under its jurisdiction themselves regularly monitor their progress in the implementation of the provisions established by the Law on the Use of Languages.
- Result 3: The identification of strengths, lessons learned and next steps throughout the implementation of the project.
- Activity 1: Perform a thorough and comprehensive study to monitor the implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages within the work of the public institutions under the jurisdiction of the OLC, through the use of indicators.
- Activity 2: Increase capacities of the OLC and the institutions under its jurisdiction to regularly monitor the implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages.
- Activity 3: Evaluation process and identification of next steps.
|Direct beneficiaries of the project:||Kosovo Central and Local Institutions and Community members.|
|The area the project seeks to address:||Language Rights, Community Rights Indicators.|
|Funding:||This project is funded by the Office of the Language Commissioner/Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo (OLC/OPM), and the supported and coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) .|