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Kosovo adopts new, progressive Law on NGOs

After several years of work, the Kosovo Parliament adopted the new Law on Freedom of Association in NGOs on April 15. The new NGO Law is now in line with best international standards and practices and in line with what the civil society sector asked for. It will improve legal environment for NGOs by removing existing limitation for foreign residents to become founders, introducing a new legal form, shortening the time period for registration, extending the list of public benefit activities and by other means.

ECNL worked closely with Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), CIVIKOS and other local partners to support the drafting process through expert comments, sharing international examples and facilitating dialogue between NGOs and state officials. Through this we increased local partners’ capacity to engage in the reform. As KCSF wrote “All inputs were built in partnership with the ECNL, one of the key expertise institutions in this field in Europe and beyond.”

The adoption of the new law is a remarkable example of the persistent and collaborative effort of civil society, diplomatic community and international partners to ensure a more enabling environment for civil society organizations in Kosovo. Over the past months around 300 Kosovar NGOs came together to prevent the proposed restrictive measures that would have violated freedom of association, including the non-distribution principle. Such examples of successful responses to restrictive initiatives are especially important in times when we witness a shrinking space of civil society globally, and in Europe.

You may find more examples at the website of the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation.