Case Study of Finland´s Regional Programme in the Western Balkans

This report is one of four case studies contributing to an evaluation of Finland’s global support to peace and development. It focuses on Finland’s development cooperation in the Western Balkans over the period 2009–13, but also includes consideration of the entirety of Finland’s development cooperation in the region from its initial engagement in 1996. The evaluation’s purpose is to provide a comprehensive review of the achievements, contributions and weaknesses of Finnish development cooperation in supporting peace and development in the Western Balkans. It also includes final evaluations of two regional projects, the results of which have contributed to the main evaluation.

The evaluation found that the programme has focused on addressing state fragility in Kosovo and increasing cross-border cooperation in the region. In Kosovo, it has been coordinated with Finland’s diplomatic and crisis management missions and covered a wide range of development issues in order to be comprehensive. In the region, the environment has been a uniting theme, while the Kosovo portfolio increasingly focuses on economic development. Finland has ensured relevance by complementing other donor interventions and aligning with Kosovan government policy, but it has retained control of many interventions through its project approach. Finland has contributed visibly to the strengthening of Kosovo’s institutions by supporting policy reform and also the integration of minorities at the community level. Regional projects in the environment were very successful in bringing people together across political and cultural divides. Finland has contributed to establishing an improved environment for economic development in Kosovo. Impact attributable directly to Finland is limited to long-term involvement with inclusive and special needs education in Kosovo. Programme results generally require continued external support to ensure sustainability.

Authors: Bill Sterland, Zehra Kačapor Džihić, and Rozeta Hajdari