The UN Security Council resolution 1244 adopted in 1999 recognizes a special status to the Kosovo region under UN authority. The Kosovo assembly on 17 February 2008 declared independence, and since then some 52 countries have recognized Kosovo's independence. Under the UN mandate negotiations to find a solution on the future status are ongoing, but until now without concrete result.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' office in Kosovo provides support to the two local Red Cross organizations in Kosovo; the Red Cross of Kosova, covering approximately 90 per cent of the territory, and the Red Cross of Kosovo and Metohija, which considers itself as a provincial branch of the Red Cross of Serbia. Both Red Cross organizations work actively to support the vulnerable population in Kosovo based upon the humanitarian needs.
The International Federation aims to strengthen the operational capacities of these Red Cross organizations to better respond to the needs of the vulnerable populations in Kosovo through support in the core programme areas of humanitarian values, health and care, disaster management, and organizational development.
Kosovo remains one of the least developed areas of the Balkans, or for that matter Europe. A socio-economic crisis has led to growing poverty, while a wide range of health threats, proneness to natural disasters combined with public structures often unable to provide even the minimum of basic services all contribute to a high level of vulnerability among communities in Kosovo. While the capacity and experience of the Red Cross organizations in Kosovo has been steadily growing in recent years there is a continuing need for support from partner National Societies, the International Federation secretariat and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to assist in increasing the level of high quality support to more vulnerable population while at the same time progressing towards becoming modern and well-functioning Red Cross organization based upon the criteria for a well-functioning National Society.
All programmes supported by the International Federation's office in Kosovo are aligned with the Federation's Global Agenda goals as well as with the Framework for Action. Further, they are based on the strategic priorities and plans of the two local Red Cross organizations. The 2009-2010 plan reflects also the strategy of scaling up programmes, increasing Red Cross capacity and strengthening its role in civil society. At the same time, the plan puts into practice the Istanbul Commitments made by the VII European Regional Conference in May 2007. These commitments see the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Europe pledge to address together vulnerability and the challenges that their communities face. Health and social care and addressing the needs of people affected by migration are the main issues that the conference agreed will be addressed in the coming years through building stronger partnerships and alliances, and by advocating for the rights and needs of individuals and communities.
Through the implementation of the plan for 2009-10 the International Federation will strive to strengthen the disaster management capacity of the local Red Cross organizations through improved disaster preparedness and response capacity including detailed risk mapping and contingency plans. Kosovo have been spared for big-scale disasters in recent years; however the vulnerability of the population is such that even small-scale disasters continue having a strong impact on people's life, as households have limited cooping mechanism due to the general poor living conditions in Kosovo. In previous years it was noted that whenever a natural disaster like floods happen, the Red Cross organizations were the only ones responding even though they have limited capacity to do so. Also in the field of the health programme, it is foreseen to strengthen the capacity of the Red Cross organizations in order to identify and respond to the basic health needs of the population. This plan therefore provides capacity building components leading towards better functioning Red Cross organizations with improved performance to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people. Promotion of humanitarian principles and values are a cross cutting programme component integrated in all programmes.
The implementation of the two-year plan will result in having more visible, active and responsive Red Cross organizations with better image, improved financial management, improved planning and more sustainable programmes with an appropriate organizational structure, including supportive governance.
The total 2009-2010 budget is CHF 1,673,640 (USD 1,529,835 or EUR 1,066,012).