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Citizenship & Democracy: Civil Society and the Democratization of Kosovo

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  1. Recent history of Kosovo
  2. Importance of civil society
  3. History of civil society in Kosovo
  4. Civil society advantages
  5. Civil society disadvantages
  6. Civil society organizations in Kosovo today
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works consulted

The emergence of Kosovo as a modern nation-state is a recent development, tracing its immediate roots to the 1990s. At this time Kosovo was still a province of Serbia and under the authority of Serbia's leader, Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic went to extreme measures to put down the insurgency that had arisen in Kosovo in the form of the Kosovo Liberation Army: he authorized the massacre and expulsion of tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. The international community reacted and NATO commenced a three-month bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999, resulting in Milosevic's withdrawal from Kosovo. UN Resolution 1244 placed Kosovo under the authority of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, maintaining the territorial integrity of Serbia but giving UNMIK, as it is called, complete control over the affairs of Kosovo

[...] After Serbia's withdrawal from the country in 1999, resources for this ?anti-statist civil society? dwindled and were replaced with an influx of foreign donations and resources as the rebuilding process began.[6] Over the course of the next few years, civil society and the NGOs that made it up blossomed, with nearly 2,500 NGOs officially registered by 2004. These organizations began their time in Kosovo by focusing on ?humanitarian assistance operations, then by empowerment of local citizens, community development, and, most recently, advocacy and lobbying.?[7] The major INGOs operating in Kosovo as the post-war reconstruction period began include: UNMIK; UNESCO; the IMF; the World Bank; the International Red Cross; NATO; as well as various other UN- and EU-sponsored organizations. [...]

[...] The inexperience of the organs of PISG and its individual members is another crucial disadvantage facing Kosovo. While Kosovo's civil society has had experience at self-management, the elected politicians and political appointees within the PISG are still novices at managing the intricacies of a democratic constituency. They are still learning how to develop policy, implement regulations, deliver services, and respond to citizens. At the same time, local NGOs and civil society are still finding out how to ascertain and represent citizen interest, participate in public policy making, and monitor and hold accountable the government. [...]

[...] There is an interesting phenomenon within Kosovo that managers from civil society moving into the government has led to stagnation within civil society; the recycling of leaders back and forth has also led to a scarcity of innovative ideas.[12] INGOs, still very much the dominant force in civil society in Kosovo and the provider of much of Kosovo's basic services, are a further strain on the limited personnel resources of the country. These international organizations ?draw away the human capital available to local organizations so that their mid-level managers who would normally become local NGO directors choose the international organization position instead.?[13] This mismanagement of personal talent needs to be overcome before serious progress in civil society can be made. [...]

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