United Nations Kosovo Team Socio-Economic Response Plan to COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis and effects will continue to be felt in Kosovo long after the initial curtailment response. Even though the initial number of cases has remained manageable, Kosovo’s health care resources are stretched and remain vulnerable to a wider outbreak or a significant increase in critical cases. The immense burden on Kosovo’s economy is just beginning to be felt. Stretching social and economic safety nets to their limits, the pandemic risks deepening pre-existing inequalities. People in vulnerable situations are the most likely to suffer and there is an urgent need for a coherent short to medium term mitigation response. The political instability poses a challenge to a comprehensive and integrated approach, but without urgent socio-economic responses, lives and livelihoods in Kosovo may be jeopardised for years to come, affecting the realisation of development goals and economic and social rights.

This Plan sets out the United Nations Kosovo Team’s offer of socio-economic support to the authorities and the people of Kosovo in the face of COVID-19, putting in practice the UN Secretary-General’s March 2020 Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity report. It provides an overview of the UN’s critical efforts in Kosovo to contribute to saving lives, protecting people, and rebuilding better.

The pillars constituting this package are:

  1. Supporting essential health services and protecting the Kosovo health system;

  2. Helping the people of Kosovo cope with adversity, through social protection and basic services;

  3. Protecting jobs, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and informal sector workers through economic response and recovery programmes;

  4. Supporting macroeconomic policies designed to protect the most vulnerable; and 5. Promoting social cohesion and community-led resilience and response.

These five pillars are connected by a strong environmental sustainability and gender equality imperative to build back better; whilst targeted interventions will help protect and promote impacted human rights. “Let’s not forget this is essentially a human crisis. Most fundamentally, we need to focus on people – the most vulnerable.” UN Secretary-General’s Call for Solidarity Collective know-how is being mobilised to implement and roll out this Plan over the next six to 24 months. Participating partners include thirteen UN agencies, funds and programmes operating in Kosovo (FAO, ILO, IOM, UNDP/UNV, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UNOPS, UN Women and WHO together with the World Bank). Under the strategic leadership of the UN Development Coordinator, with technical lead of UNDP, and with UNICEF and UNDP co- chairing a broad technical taskforce, the Plan draws on a network of global and regional expertise.