Pre-alpine, landlocked Kosovo is Europe's newest country. In addition to political integration processes, reform processes and decentralisation, there is a need for better infrastructure and faster economic development. Switzerland supports both civil society and the state in this transition process and contributes to Kosovo's regional and European integration.

Map of Kosovo

In 2008, the Kosovo parliament proclaimed the independence of the province that was administered by the UN at the time. Although Kosovo's independence has still not been recognised by all countries to date and the UN's administration still continues, the EU launched an extensive programme to develop the new country in 2008. Kosovo's transition process is making slow progress. A third of the population still lives below the poverty line. Despite the improvements that have been achieved, there is a lack of infrastructure and public services, and high unemployment is also a problem. Mainly inhabited by ethnic Serbs, the northern region continues to struggle to integrate into Kosovo.

Democratic governance and decentralisation

Political and administrative decentralisation is a key factor for peaceful coexistence in Kosovo. Switzerland supports the development of local administrations which offer high-quality services. Specifically, the municipal administrations supported by Switzerland should take transparent, reliable and effective action.

State and Economic Reforms

Advocacy and Good Governance

Economy and employment

Switzerland's main cooperation objectives in Kosovo include a dynamic private sector which offers well-trained young people attractive employment opportunities. This is why it has invested in market-oriented vocational training to date. Competent job placement institutions increase the likelihood of job seekers finding work and companies finding employees. Hence Switzerland is committed to improvements in both public and private employment services. This aims to decrease among young people the time between entering the employment market and starting a job as well as reducing the number of registered unemployed by 8% to 10%.

Private Sector Development and financial services


By 2016 more than 80% of the rural population is expected to be connected to the public water network (around 60% was connected in 2011). Switzerland is supporting the construction of water supply systems in order to achieve this objective. Switzerland is funding the construction of wastewater treatment plants in cities to help Kosovo to comply with EU wastewater treatment norms in the future and to reduce the pollution of rivers, which in some cases is very serious.



Switzerland contributes to improving medical services in Kosovo by funding a basic service. As part of the reform process, it advises Kosovo and is committed to ensuring that in the future even disadvantaged population groups will have better access to the health system. 



Since 2010, Switzerland has had a migration partnership with Kosovo. Regular exchange takes place between representatives of both countries in the scope of this partnership. Targeted measures in migration policy are intended to strengthen the Kosovo migration authorities' capacities in migration management and the creation of reintegration mechanisms.


Peace and security

Conflict prevention and stabilisation

The Human Security Division (HSD) of the FDFA's Directorate of Political Affairs is involved in the areas of political dialogue and confidence building. The involvement of and support for minority groups, conflict management and transitional justice are important themes in this regard.

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport has participated, along with with SWISSCOY, in the international peace support mission, Kosovo Force (KFOR) since October 1999.

Engagement in fragile contexts and prevention of violent conflicts

Approach and partners

Switzerland closely coordinates its transition cooperation with local authorities, other donor countries, and international organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. All Swiss programmes incorporate the principles of good governance and equal rights.

Switzerland's key partners in Kosovo are:

  • Swiss NGOs, e.g. Helvetas/Swiss Intercooperation, Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS), Swisscontact, Caritas, and Terre des Hommes
  • International NGOs and companies
  • National partners: ministries and municipalities, civil society organisations, e.g. community development initiatives, Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians
  • Multilateral organisations, such as the World Bank, UNDP
  • The Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria

History of cooperation

From humanitarian aid to transition support

Cooperation with today's Republic of Kosovo began after the end of the armed conflict of 1998-1999 with a focus on humanitarian aid, reconstruction assistance and repatriation assistance for refugees. At the beginning of 2000, humanitarian activities and the repatriation assistance that was subsequently launched were supplemented by various measures for reconstruction assistance, securing livelihoods and cultural promotion. Since 2004 transition assistance has focused on political and economic development.


Current projects

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Combating corruption in Kosovo

Four young developers sitting at a table discussing IT solutions designed to help the municipality create more transparency.

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020

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
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020

CHF 525'000

SDC supports municipal autonomy and political participation in Kosovo

A young man holding a microphone in his hand, listening intently to the discussion.

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017

Since independence in 2008, Kosovo has been moving to reform and decentralise its administration. Local self-administration in the 38 municipalities is to be expanded. The SDC project "Decentralisation and Municipal Support" (DEMOS) supports 17 municipalities in improving their public services.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017

CHF 12'820'000

More work opportunities for young people in Kosovo

A man looks at the vegetable.

01.04.2013 - 15.11.2017

Kosovo suffers under a high rate of youth unemployment. One reason for this is the lack of international competitiveness in the private sector. The 'Promoting Private Sector Employment' (PPSE) project supports companies in the food and tourism industries and helps to create new jobs.  

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Economy and Employment
Labor market development

01.04.2013 - 15.11.2017

CHF 7'130'000

Notaries relieve courts

01.03.2012 - 30.06.2017

In the former Yugoslavia notaries did not exist. Their tasks were carried out by district courts, and that is still the case today. The district courts are chronically overloaded and are unable to fulfil their responsibilities satisfactorily. The project is supporting the government of Kosovo with the introduction of a notarial system and thereby contributing to the development of the rule of law in the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Legal and judicial development

01.03.2012 - 30.06.2017

CHF 1'150'000

Kosovo: Enhancing Youth Employability (EYE)

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

In order to improve the market opportunities for youth in Kosovo, the EYE program will facilitate matching between the demand (employer) and supply (potential employees) of the labour market. It contributes to ensuring the availability of adequately trained young women and men to meet the requirements of the private sector. It is expected that by end of 2020, 5,000 more young women and men will be employed, 20,000 will have better skills and 100,000 will have better career information and will make informed career choices.

Democratic Society Promotion (DSP)

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2018

The democratic development of any country must include - besides institution building - support to an active citizenry to demand transparent, accountable and inclusive governance. DSP funds civic initiatives that advance democracy and inclusion in Kosovo. The promotion of civic participation, ethnic cohesion, gender equality and - as new component - diaspora participation are at the core of this programme.

Accessible Quality Healthcare (AQH)

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019

AQH project will improve people’s care seeking and health condition by improving access to and quality of services offered at Primary Health Care (PHC), with a focus on vulnerable communities. By strengthening the clinical capacity, managerial competence and feedback mechanisms AQH will increase the quality of services provided as well as enhance the system’s responsiveness to the needs of communities. As a contribution to strengthening the gate-keeping role of PHC, it contributes to the health sector reforms Kosovo has initiated.

Rural Water and Sanitation Support Programme Kosovo (RWSSP V)

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2017

Since 2005, the Swiss Rural Water and Sanitation Support Programme has provided access to safe drinking water and sanitation to more than 150,000 people living in rural area. The programme is building infrastructure, strengthening managing capacity, and developing the sector framework conditions. It is expected that by 2017, 320,000 people will benefit and that the Regional Water Companies maintain effectively the water networks.

Improving Financial Protection and Quality of Care (Contribution to a World Bank Hybrid Trust Fund)

01.09.2013 - 31.03.2019

Kosovo has initiated a wide-ranging health sector reform, a cornerstone of which is the introduction of the mandatory health insurance. Given the complexity of the reforms, technical support will be crucial in assisting an effective implementation. Moreover, a better informed targeting of public subsidies will protect poor people from either foregoing health care or being impoverished due to out of pocket payments for health care in case of ill health.

Lugano Summer School - Support for health professionals and managers from Low- and Middle-Income Countries with a SOC health focus

01.05.2013 - 30.04.2017

Empowering the workforce at all levels and within each of the building blocks of the health system through training is mandatory for improving health system performance. Therefore the goal of the of the Lugano Summer School is to strengthen and sustain the capacity of health professionals in selected low and middle income countries to manage, develop and promote health services and health systems at conceptual, strategic, and operational levels.

Wastewater treatment plant Peja, Kosovo, with KfW

01.11.2015 - 31.12.2020

SECO is consolidating its support to the wastewater sector in Kosovo. The construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Peja is the second project of this kind SECO is co-financing with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in Kosovo. The project involves investment measures and institutional strengthening, as well as policy dialogue.

Europe and Central Asia : PPP Transaction Advisory Program

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2020

The ECA Program, managed by the International Finance Corporation IFC, is providing infrastructure transaction advisory and capacity building services to the public sector authorities to promote Public-Private Partnerships in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.

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