On 21 April 2020, UNOPS Pristina Office signed the Cooperation Agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation – Sida represented by the Swedish Embassy in Pristina for implementation of the four year project ‘Promoting decent work through strengthening occupational safety and health management and social dialogue’ with a total amount of SEK 45,136 respectively, just over 4 million euros.
Raising awareness on decent employment conditions in the public and private sector will improve the access of women and men to economic and social rights. This project will contribute to the improved normative and legislative framework on occupational safety and health and will advocate for safer, healthier and more productive workplaces for the benefit of employees and employers, be they in the private or public sector.
This project will focus on strengthening the key policies and enforcement capacities of the regulatory implementing bodies of the Kosovo institutions.
UNOPS will also be working closely with ILO, UN Women and Civil Society Organizations who advocate and lobby for respect of labour rights, as well as trusted consultancy partners PHSS, who bring a great experience of operationalising OSH policy and procedure on the ground.
This project contributes and supports Kosovo in its process for EU integration and will support Kosovo’s European Reform Agenda in the areas of:
- Good Governance and the Rule of Law,
- Competitiveness and Investment Climate and
- Employment and Education.
In the field of employment and social policy, Kosovo has a solid basic legal framework through which:
- work and employment issues,
- safety and health at work,
- gender equality,
- social dialogue, social inclusion, and social protection are regulated.
Yet, the worrying facts are that Kosovo faces one of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world – around 18% which is well below other Western Balkan countries.
It has been also reported that there are frequent cases of serious injuries and occupational diseases, but due to a lack of data the exact number of injuries and work related illnesses are unknown.
However, what we do know, and I have experienced first hand in my prior career as a civil engineer, is that for every injury and fatality, a person, a family and a community can be affected.
The project has moral, financial and legal benefits. This project intends to support the establishment of effective reporting and recording systems of grievances to address and hopefully resolve injustices.
However, without baseline data such as a National Occupational Safety and Health Profile, a more comprehensive legal framework; and the implementation and monitoring of an effective system of governance for occupational safety and health and labour rights remains challenging
Finding solutions to improve educational and employment opportunities for men, women and young people is essential to Kosovo’s development. This will require a better understanding of what a job with Decent Work is and in addressing the shortcomings.
To implement this project successfully will require the close cooperation of all stakeholders and the sponsorship and commitment of leadership.