The reconstruction of Kosovo after 1999 was one of the largest and most ambitious international interventions in a post conflict country. Kosovo was seen by many international actors as a ‘green fields’ site on which to construct the government institutions and practices they considered necessary for future peace and prosperity. For a while Kosovo was close to being a laboratory for the practice of institution building and capacity development. This book looks beyond the apparently united and generally self congratulatory statements of international organisations and donors to examine what actually happened when they tried to work together in Kosovo to construct a new public administration. It considers the interests and motivations and the strengths and weaknesses of each of the major players and how these affected what they did, how they did it, and how successful they were in achieving their goals. Although in general the international exercise in Kosovo can be seen as a success, the results have been uneven. Some public administration institutions perform well while others face ongoing challenges. The book argues that to a significant extent the current day performance of the Kosovo government can be traced to the steps taken, or sometimes not taken, by various international actors in the early years of the international intervention.
The introductory chapter argues that the intervention in Kosovo was essentially, for most actors, a development assistance exercise. Understanding the theory and practice of development is therefore necessary for understanding what happened in Kosovo. The chapter describes current ideas about post conflict reconstruction and development and the various critiques of these theories. It also describes the methods development actors use and the complaints frequently made about these methods.
Chapter 2 briefly sets the scene for the reconstruction exercise and explains the intense donor interest in determining the direction of Kosovo’s post conflict development. This chapter also describes the situation in Kosovo in the immediate aftermath of the conflict, and provides a brief chronology of the development of Kosovo’s independent government over the years of international supervision which provided the background to the institution building activities of international actors.
Chapter 3 identifies the lead players in the story. These comprised some of the largest and most influential international organisations, development bodies and bilateral donors. It examines each of their objectives and motivations, the methods they used, the resources they made available for the task, the relationships between them, and how these all affected what they were able to achieve.
Chapters 4 describes what happened when international actors applied their ideas and methods to creating new public finance management institutions as the foundation for a future government. It explains the significance of public finance issues for development and the difficult policy debates it sometimes generates. It then explains the steps that were taken to resolve these issues in Kosovo. The final part of the chapter assesses the results achieved and identifies the factors that contributed to these results.
The chapter documents the development of the Kosovo civil service under UN administration. It discusses ideas about the role of civil service bureaucracy in economic development and describes the processes of recruiting Kosovar civil servants, their salary arrangements, and their terms and conditions of employment. Assessments of the current day performance of the public administration in Kosovo are largely negative and the chapter argues that this can be traced to initial failure by the UN to take steps to control civil service recruitment and establish merit based employment.
The concluding chapter describes the transformation strategies used by international actors in Kosovo and assesses their outcomes. It identifies the factors that enabled some international organisations to achieve positive results from their activities and identifies some lessons that can be taken from the experience of post conflict reconstruction in Kosovo.