AKM REPRESENTATIVES REPORTED TO THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON THE STATE OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN KOSOVO MUNICIPALITIES



By: Genc Namani

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Representatives of the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) – Acting President of the AKM Mr. Xhafer Gashi and Executive Director of the AKM Mr Sazan Ibrahimi, attended the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government, Public Administration, Regional Development and Media to report on the state of Covid-19 pandemic in Kosovo Municipalities.

In this meeting, where representatives of the AKM participated at the invitation of this Parliamentary Committee, they elaborated on the situation in municipalities regarding the challenges, commitment and difficulties in the municipalities of Kosovo in this pandemic situation.
In his speech in front of the Members of this Committee, Mayor Gashi said that “Kosovo municipalities have so far faced emergencies of various types such as floods, earthquakes, fires but Covid-19 pandemic was something new for the Municipalities.

Since the beginning, i.e. from the second week of March, all municipalities were mobilized by establishing an Emergency Local Headquarters where members of this staff were various municipal representatives and in most cases these headquarters are led by the mayor.

I think that the mayors and municipalities have done an extraordinary and substantial job in the battle to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Municipalities, being in the forefront of providing services and managing the situation with Covid-19 have faced and will face numerous challenges and difficulties in meeting the demands and needs of citizens and local businesses. Municipalities have made every effort to protect groups at greatest risk from Covid-19.

Regarding the cooperation and coordination of municipalities with the central level, as I pointed out earlier, this was not something new for municipalities but also for central institutions and we can say that there was a lack of cooperation and coordination in the beginning phase of pandemics. We think that the central level has tried to manage the situation only from Pristina by bypassing the municipalities and taking decisions without consulting the municipalities or the Association as the legal representative of the municipalities. After the response of the Association, on behalf of the municipalities, this coordination has started to improve, especially after the establishment of the Inter-Institutional Group for Incident Management.

The Association maintained daily communication with all mayors, municipal directorates and addressed the requests of the municipalities at the central level. Consecutively, after the first 10 days and up until now, we can assess that the cooperation has been correct and acknowledged by the municipalities as a consolidated cooperation.

In the Bulletin that you received earlier but also distributed now, you can see the requests of the municipalities to the central level where we can freely say that over 90% of our requests, channeled through the Association have received positive responses from the central level” said among others the Acting President of the AKM, Mr. Xhafer Gashi.