Fields of work

Normalization of relations/dialogue

NSI contributes to normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina

Beograd – Pristina; Photo: EPA / Valdrin Xhemaj

NSI facilitates open exchange on the Brussels dialogue and normalization process among opinion-makers from civil society from Kosovo and Serbia. Moreover, NSI provides evidence-based independent analyses and recommendations for decision-makers involved in the process.

Key Assumptions:

–   There is a need for fostering a regular in-depth dialogue between civil society actors engaged in the normalization of relations from both sides, so to be able to propose improvements to the Track I dialogue among the officials based on an in-depth understanding of internal political dynamics and sentiments on both sides and NSI is well-positioned to facilitate such dialogue.

–    NSI will represent and include diverse representatives of the Kosovo Serbs community in the dialogue between civil society actors from different sides, which will add important voices and perspectives to the process.

–   NSI is capable of delivering high quality analysis using the evidence collected through qualitative and quantitative research, and producing recommendations for which NSI is able to advocate with decision makers.

To see the projects we are implementing or have implemented in the area of Normalization of relations/Dialogue, see our Reference List.

Normalization of relations/dialogue

NSI contributes to normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina

Beograd – Pristina; Photo: EPA / Valdrin Xhemaj

NSI facilitates open exchange on the Brussels dialogue and normalization process among opinion-makers from civil society from Kosovo and Serbia. Moreover, NSI provides evidence-based independent analyses and recommendations for decision-makers involved in the process.

Key Assumptions:

–   There is a need for fostering a regular in-depth dialogue between civil society actors engaged in the normalization of relations from both sides, so to be able to propose improvements to the Track I dialogue among the officials based on an in-depth understanding of internal political dynamics and sentiments on both sides and NSI is well-positioned to facilitate such dialogue.

–    NSI will represent and include diverse representatives of the Kosovo Serbs community in the dialogue between civil society actors from different sides, which will add important voices and perspectives to the process.

–   NSI is capable of delivering high quality analysis using the evidence collected through qualitative and quantitative research, and producing recommendations for which NSI is able to advocate with decision makers.

To see the projects we are implementing or have implemented in the area of Normalization of relations/Dialogue, see our Reference List.

Trustbuilding and Dealing with the Past

New Social Initiative supports different approaches to Trustbuilding and Dealing with the Past initiatives among communities

NSI intents to achieve several outcomes in order to meet this goal:

– NSI will be the channel of positive stories on inter-ethnic relations and reaching wider public by offering the innovative communication tools for visual and public affairs influencers (YouTubers, Instagramers, TikTokers, Journalists, Professionals and CSOs);

– NSI will be the convener and facilitator for structured exchange of attitudes and opinions, thus supporting trust building and collaboration among CSOs speaking on behalf of different ethnic groups in Kosovo;

– NSI will harvest and spread counter-narratives and positive stories, thus creating space for exchange and dialogue by partnering with media and digital outlets across Kosovo.

Key Assumptions:

–   New innovative solutions for trust building will resonate better with citizens, especially youth, and the positive frame of the inter-ethnic relations could disrupt diminish the strength and malign influence of the negative narratives they were socialized in;

Photo: Emerging Europej

–  “Pockets of Freedom” or forums, which remove the publicity constraints, will strengthen the bonds between CSOs from different communities, thus increasing the trust between them and allowing them to establish stronger coalitions on crucial societal topics, especially those related to the inclusion of the non-majority communities;

–  Engaging different audiences with opposite narratives on the same topic will soften the rooted stereotypes about the “other” communities and address the grievances from the past, and will fertilize the ground for trust building.

To see the projects we are implementing or have implemented in the area of DwP/trust-building, see our Reference List.

Trustbuilding and Dealing with the Past

New Social Initiative supports different approaches to Trustbuilding and Dealing with the Past initiatives among communities

Photo: Emerging Europej

NSI intents to achieve several outcomes in order to meet this goal:

– NSI will be the channel of positive stories on inter-ethnic relations and reaching wider public by offering the innovative communication tools for visual and public affairs influencers (YouTubers, Instagramers, TikTokers, Journalists, Professionals and CSOs);

– NSI will be the convener and facilitator for structured exchange of attitudes and opinions, thus supporting trust building and collaboration among CSOs speaking on behalf of different ethnic groups in Kosovo;

– NSI will harvest and spread counter-narratives and positive stories, thus creating space for exchange and dialogue by partnering with media and digital outlets across Kosovo.

Key Assumptions:

–   New innovative solutions for trust building will resonate better with citizens, especially youth, and the positive frame of the inter-ethnic relations could disrupt diminish the strength and malign influence of the negative narratives they were socialized in;

–  “Pockets of Freedom” or forums, which remove the publicity constraints, will strengthen the bonds between CSOs from different communities, thus increasing the trust between them and allowing them to establish stronger coalitions on crucial societal topics, especially those related to the inclusion of the non-majority communities;

–  Engaging different audiences with opposite narratives on the same topic will soften the rooted stereotypes about the “other” communities and address the grievances from the past, and will fertilize the ground for trust building.

To see the projects we are implementing or have implemented in the area of DwP/trust-building, see our Reference List.

Citizen participation

NSI is working on increasing non-majority participation in decision making processes for the purpose of getting better services and making institutions more accountable

Source: NSI photo archive

NSI works to achieve this goal on both supply and demand side of the citizen participation: 1) on the demand side, the outcomes of our engagement are the benefits that citizens have by utilizing the mechanisms of citizens’ participation, and 2) the creation of low profile community spaces which will support resonant voices; 3) on the supply side, the outcomes of our activities will be established and improved participation mechanisms in the institutions (in mostly Kosovo Serb majority municipalities).

Key Assumptions:

–    The increased demand for the better services will boost the efficiency of the institutions and increase their accountability;

–    Resonant voices are reluctant to speak out because of the non-pluralistic nature of the political arena of the Kosovo Serb community, but their participation in closed group discussions will encourage them to speak up in the future and preserve social capital required for any collective action;

–   Kosovo Serb majority municipalities will be open for cooperation on non-controversial issues, and will accept the citizen participation mechanisms.

To see the projects we are implementing or have implemented in the area of Citizen Participation, see our Reference List.

Citizen participation

NSI is working on increasing non-majority participation in decision making processes for the purpose of getting better services and making institutions more accountable

Source: NSI photo archive

NSI works to achieve this goal on both supply and demand side of the citizen participation: 1) on the demand side, the outcomes of our engagement are the benefits that citizens have by utilizing the mechanisms of citizens’ participation, and 2) the creation of low profile community spaces which will support resonant voices; 3) on the supply side, the outcomes of our activities will be established and improved participation mechanisms in the institutions (in mostly Kosovo Serb majority municipalities).

Key Assumptions:

–    The increased demand for the better services will boost the efficiency of the institutions and increase their accountability;

–    Resonant voices are reluctant to speak out because of the non-pluralistic nature of the political arena of the Kosovo Serb community, but their participation in closed group discussions will encourage them to speak up in the future and preserve social capital required for any collective action;

–   Kosovo Serb majority municipalities will be open for cooperation on non-controversial issues, and will accept the citizen participation mechanisms.

To see the projects we are implementing or have implemented in the area of Citizen Participation, see our Reference List.

Kosovo-Serbia by 2027: Four Most Likely Scenarios

Kosovo-Serbia by 2027: Four Most Likely Scenarios is a result of several brainstorming exercises by 13 policy experts and civil society activists from
Kosovo and Serbia. These scenarios were drafted without prejudice by participants from Serbia and Kosovo – Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs and serve as a document on how they view the current state of affairs. Their purpose is to predict a potential future of Kosovo-Serbia relations and
thus provoke a debate on the key assumptions necessary to bring those relations to the best possible place and warn of those that would lead them
in the opposite direction.

In the analysis The Game of Numbers: Resolving the issue of the missing, 20 years on, an insight is gained into how much progress has been made in solving the issue of missing persons in Kosovo, what failures have been made in solving this issue in the previous two decades and how official the inclusion of this topic in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina can contribute to its solution, with an emphasis on the experiences of the family members of the disappeared from the Serbian community in Kosovo. The research was conducted by the New Social Initiative.

In the analysis of public policy options New apple of discord: SOC in the dialogue on normalization, the probability of including the issue of the status of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina and the acceptability of different models of the possible participation of church representatives in the negotiations for the communities of Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians are examined. The research was conducted by the New Social Initiative.

Civil Society Report on Human Rights in Kosovo in 2021

This document presents the third annual CSO report on the human rights situation in Kosovo for the year 2021. The report is produced jointly by civil society organizations (CSOs) working in a diverse number of areas relevant to human rights. This report aims to serve as an independent tool to assess the overall human rights situation in Kosovo, thus lling in an existing gap in joint reporting on human rights in Kosovo at the local and international levels, in addition to enhancing cooperation and coordination between CSOs.

The following 37 CSOs contributed to this report:

Activism Roots, Advancing Together (AT),Artpolis, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Balkan Sun‑owers Kosova (BSFK), Center for Armative Social Action (CASA), Centre for Equality and Liberty (CEL), Civil Rights Program Kosovo (CRP/K), CiviKos Platform, Democracy Plus (D+), EcoZ, FOL Movement, Forum for Civic Initiative (FIQ), Gracanica Innovation Center (GIC), Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS), HANDIKOS, Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLCK), Coalition of Non- governmental Organizations (NGOs) for Child Protection (KOMF), K10 Coalition with the leading NGO Action for Mothers and Children (AMC), Kosova Education Center (KEC), Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT), Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS), Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), Kosovo Law Institute (KLI), Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN), Kosova Young Lawyers (KYL), Local Initiative LINK, Medica Gjakova, Missing Persons Resource Center (MPRC), Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women’s Organizations of Kosovo (RROGRAEK), New Social Initiative (NSI), NGO AKTIV, NGO THY, Roma in Action (RIA), Roma Versitas Kosovo (RVK), Syri i Vizionit, Terre des Hommes Kosovo, Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo (YIHR KS), and YMCA in Kosovo.

Kosovo Collective Report – Fostering societal peace through inter-ethnic dialogue in Kosovo

In 2021, New Social Initiative (NSI) and Peacebuilding Group, supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), have brought together a group of people from Kosovo and Serbia in what has been called the “Kosovo Collective” to discuss prospects and challenges for achieving more sustainable peace in Kosovo. Those involved in these conversations were civil society activists, policymakers, experts, scholars, and journalists. To unearth and have a deeper understanding of structural and situational blockages that undermine the potential for durable societal peace in Kosovo, in their discussion, the Kosovo Collective has tackled different thematic clusters, such as: how political developments affect the inter-ethnic consensus between Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians on issues such as the dialogue on normalization, political representation, and central authority; elections and democratic participation; potential for multi-ethnic and active citizenry; contentious issues surrounding cultural heritage, and the rise of populism and nationalism.

The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of the discussions of the Kosovo Collective in their five meetings during 2021. The Kosovo Collective discussions were structured as semi-formal, Chatham house meetings to facilitate an open discussion on topics that seem to divide Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. What makes the Kosovo Collective discussions extraordinary is that they tackled issues that are considered as sensitive (i.e., the lawsuit for genocide against Serbia from Kosovo), but these meetings were inspired, organized, and facilitated entirely locally, and none of the meetings had anyone externally (i.e., “someone from EU”) to help create an enabling environment for discussion. What this shows is the strong agency of the civil society in Kosovo, and the potential to play a more constructive and enabling role in the overall process of normalization of relations.

Report: Women at negotiating table in Kosovo

This report is part of the EUSR Project “Inclusion of Women at the Negotiating Table in Kosovo”, which is a continuation of the EUSR project (2019-2020) “Women in Politics. Confidence, Influence and Effective Leadership. Ensuring Gender-responsive and Inclusive Political Dialogue Processes.”

The project activities were designed to look closely at UNSC Resolution 1325 implementation in Kosovo, especially the pillar focused on the participation of women in peacebuilding initiatives and negotiations.

The overall objective of the project was to improve the ability of the target group of women to
access positions of responsibility in negotiations as well as to engage in and advocate for the inclusion of women in high-level negotiations and political dialogues, as well as enable the EUSR to keep the dialogue on gender equality and women empowerment with relevant partners from local civil society, professional associations, Kosovo institutions and international community presence in Kosovo.

Kosovo Collective-WHAT HAPPENED TO KURTI’S NEW APPROACH TO KOSOVO SERB INTEGRATION

On the 15th May 2021, New Social Initiative (NSI) and the Peacebuilding Group organized a discussion with Kosovo Albanian and Serb CSO activists, researchers, journalists, and academics in Ferizaj/Uroševac. Following the newly elected Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s calls for internal [inter-ethnic] dialogue, the discussion sought to understand varying perspectives on the integration of Kosovo Serbs and future prospects.

The conclusions that came out as a result of this discussion, summarized by Ardit Orana can be downloaded here.

Civil society organizations in the Serb community in Kosovo: Between perceptions and presentation

This publication is published as part of OPEN, a project carried out by the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS) in cooperation with Nova društvena inicijativa (New Social Initiative) and Forum za razvoj i multietničku saradnju (Forum for Development and Multiethnic Cooperation).

The overall goal of the research is to present measurable data on the role and contribution of civil society organizations to the openness and observance of democratic principles of the Serbian community in Kosovo.

The number of civil society organizations is increasing every year but their presence continues to dominate in Pristina, Mitrovica and Prizren. By 2018, 9,016 local and 530 foreign and international non-governmental organizations were registered with the competent Ministry. Out of that number, 96 % are registered as associations, whereas only 4 % are registered as foundations. One should also bear in mind that numerous associations, civil initiatives, clubs and religious groups are conducting activities informally without a legal status and financial capacities.

Political parties of Kosovo Serbs in the political system of Kosovo: From pluralism to monism

This publication is a part of ”Democracy, Openness and Prospects of the Serb Community in Kosovo – Open” a initiative of the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS), initiated in 2020. Open was realized in cooperation with nine civil-society organizations that are active in the Serb community in Kosovo.

The general objective of this new initiative is development of an open and dynamic space for discussion within the Serb community and between the Serb and other communities, as well as among institutions in Kosovo.

Political parties and the politics of Kosovo Serbs have developed in a complex socio-political environment. Caught between the hammer and the anvil, political-economic dependence and from Belgrade requested loyalty, as well as
pressures to take part in Kosovo political life, Kosovo Serbs, despite numerous attempts, have mainly been restricted in the articulation of their politics. Faced with a demographic deficit, shortage of human potential and the loss of intellectual and academic elite, they have (except in rare moments) been doomed to be a political instrument, not an important political player.

The efficiency of Serbia and Kosovo’s institutions’ mechanisms in finding missing persons from the war in Kosovo in the period from 2016 to 2020

After September 2020, when the Washington Agreement was reached, and the EU-facilitated
negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo in Brussels renewed, resolving enforced
disappearances from the Kosovo conflict, as well as the post-conflict period (1998-2000), was
after many years, at least declaratively, very high on the political agendas of the executive
authorities of Serbia and Kosovo.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), more than 6,000 cases of
missing persons during the war in Kosovo were registered after the war, at the request of family
members. In the meantime, the fate of the majority has been clarified, but nothing is known
about more than 1,600 people yet.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared at the end of August 2020, the
Association of Kosmet Victims from Belgrade and the Missing Persons Resource Centre from
Priština organized press conferences in Belgrade and in Priština entitled “The Missing Must not
Remain a Number – They Have Names”. At both press conferences in Belgrade and Priština,
Associations of families of missing Serbs and Albanians stated that both countries must open war
archives and reveal information about people who are still listed as missing in the war in Kosovo
(1998-1999). “There is no progress in any society as long as there are secret tombs and
unexcavated bones” said Nataša Šćepanović, president of the Association of Kosmet Victims.

Having in mind the appeals of the families of the missing and civil society to address the issue
of the missing from a humanitarian perspective, as well as a frequent abuse of the issue for
daily political purposes, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia (YIHR) and the New
Social Initiative (NSI), with support and coordination of the Working Group for Chapter 35 of
the National Convention on the EU in Serbia, mapped the problem of inconsistent data on
missing persons available to the Government of Serbia and the Government of Kosovo, as well
as insufficiently developed cooperation between institutions of the two governments that would
lead to faster and more efficient finding of missing persons.

As a result, this is an analysis of the efficiency of mechanisms for resolving the issue of missing
persons (legislative solutions, collecting data on missing persons – archives, establishing facts
about missing persons through war crimes trials, grave exhumations) available to Serbian and
Kosovo institutions in the period from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2020. Finally, in
addition to the analysis of the efficiency of mechanisms in both countries, this document also
contains findings of international state and non-state organizations, data on forms of
cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo in resolving the issue of missing persons, as well as
recommendations for the work of both governments, which can, in our opinion, lead to a more
efficient and humane solution to the issue of the missing than it has been the case so far.

Author:

Anđela Savić, Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia
Marko Milosavljević, Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia
Milica Radovanović, New Social Initiative

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