About the ILO in Kosovo*

Limited job opportunities, especially for youth

After five years of steady GDP growth (4.1 per cent per year from 2014 to 19), Kosovo faced a contraction of economic activity of an estimated 7 per cent in 2020. Solid data on the labour market impact of the pandemic are not yet available. World Bank business surveys indicate that labour markets reacted in the short run by reducing working hours and compensation. ILO expects that the pandemic will make the labour market challenges of Kosovo from before the pandemic even more urgent. These challenges are high rates of unemployment and inactivity (25 and 60 per cent respectively in Q3 2020), particularly for women and youth.

Implementation of the European Reform Agenda has been lagging behind. The updated 2018-2022 programme for the Stabilization and Association Agreement serves as the main tool for planning, coordinating and monitoring EU-related reforms. In line with commitments under the European Reform Agenda, there is an action plan to tackle youth employment challenges, but the budget earmarked for active labour market measures remains insufficient. Also, implementation of the legal and policy framework related to labour and health and safety is limited.

To overcome some of these challenges, the ILO is offering assistance in:
  • Promoting inclusive labour market solutions for vulnerable job-seekers;
  • Providing support on effective employment and social policies through capacity building of public administrations, employers’ and workers’ organizations;
  • Elimination of child labor in all its forms, in particular the worst forms of child labor; and
  • Strengthening occupational safety and health and social dialogue.
The ILO is a member of the United Nations Kosovo Team (UNKT). It contributed to the drafting of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2021 – 2025. The ILO also supported the UNKT framework for the socio-economic response to Covid-19.

The ILO has been active in Kosovo since August 1999 with a focus on developing vocational training; reforming the network of employment offices; promoting youth employment; combatting child labour; and enhancing social dialogue. Kosovo is also included in two regional projects: a) Inclusive Labour Market Solutions to improve the integration of vulnerable groups in the labour market, and b) Economic and Social Affairs Platform 2 (ESAP) with components to reduce informal employment and undeclared work, strengthen labour inspection and social dialogue in the region see https://www.esap.online.

* All references to Kosovo should be understood in the context of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

Text last updated 5/21.