Opening remarks by Ambassador Thomas Kolly at the Inter-ministerial Water Council


Switzerland has planned a 12-year program support in Kosovo on Integrated Water Resources Management, and this Agency is important to a successful implementation of this program.

After two years during which we have not met, I am pleased that we conveyed twice already within less than a month.

I am pleased to hear about the progress mentioned by the Prime Minister. These show commitment by the Government, which we welcome very much.

The agenda material and the draft decisions prove the Government’s seriousness in attending to very important sector policy need. We encourage the Council to approve them, as we believe they will progress sector reforms.

I would kindly ask the Prime Minister to give me an opportunity to quickly react after each agenda item to represent our common position. Thank you.

Agenda items

1. Review and approval of recommendations from the feasibility study for the Lepenc canal and the construction of dams in Shtime and Firaja (Interministerial Water Council Secretariat)

Kosovo has limited available water for use and the future needs very much depend on existing (mild reference to Gazivoda) and new strategic reservoirs. Thus the approval of this point is important to the sustainable development, also in terms of climate change challenges.

2. Certification of the RWCs’ staff (Interministerial Water Council Secretariat)

Such practices (certification of staff) are well known in our countries, glad Kosovo is pursuing the good practices.

3. Implementation of obligations deriving from the water law (Interministerial Water Council Secretariat)

Consensual concern of the donor community is the lack of implementation of the water law. This issue is seriously threatening water resources and consequently the socio-economic development of the country. In previous meeting we asked for a report on this, which we saw in the material – we suggest to MEE to base any work on water law amendment on that.

4. Approval of the Investment Framework – Irrigation masterplan (Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Rural Development)

It is appropriate for this Council to approve important sector documents like this, which clearly specify needs and priority projects. Any donor looks for something like this to act upon. We hope the new World Bank project (Fostering and Levering Opportunities for Water Security Project - FLOWS) will build on this document and also deliver a very important investment plan on dams Kosovo-wide (something that was missing in the Water Strategy) and very critically needed dam safety monitoring.  

5. Analysis of water sector projects and institutional obligations towards them (Interministerial Water Council Secretariat)

Pleased to see PM responded immediately to donor concerns regarding Prizren and Gjakova municipal obligations on wastewater treatment plants, and to see this reflected in this very important draft-decision.

6. Review of the performance indicators of the Regional Water Companies (Ministry of Economy and Environment)

Glad to see Ministry and Government commitment on improving performance of Regional Water and Irrigation companies, particularly the Board of Directors.

7. Review of the rules of procedure of the Inter-ministerial Water Council

We welcome the rewriting of the Council regulation and reflecting the need for a minimum two meetings a year, and your reflective action to re-anchorage the Secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister, as you promised in the last meeting.

Switzerland hopes to finalize the memorandum of cooperation on supporting the Interministerial Water Council Secretariat with you any day your cabinet agrees to its content. There is only expectation we have – the continuation of administrative assistance to the Secretariat though the Government funding.

8. Review of establishing the River Basin District Authority as an executive agency (Interministerial Water Council Secretariat /Swiss Embassy)

We have repeatedly asked the previous governments to establish the River Basin District Authority as executive agency in accordance with your water law. Switzerland has planned a 12-year program support in Kosovo on Integrated Water Resources Management, and this Agency is important to a successful implementation of this program.

10. Review of the recommendations from the report on loans in the water sector (Swiss Embassy)

We welcome the Government reflections and this proposed decision. Switzerland as leading donor supports the recommendations deriving from the loan paper, in particular for the new potential loans in water sector without disrupting the utility finances or affordability of services.