MUNICIPAL RETURNS OFFICER
Overview and Terms of Reference
Under the Standards Implementation Plan, the post of Municipal Returns Officer is expected to be created within the office of the Chief Executive Officer in those municipalities with ongoing or projected returns.
Under the direct supervision of the Chief Executive Officer, the Municipal Returns Officer will help ensure that returns-related activities move forward at the municipal level by participating in and providing support to existing returns structures and coordinating municipal engagement in the returns process at an operational level .
In addition, the Municipal Returns Officer will assist the Chief Executive Officer in the development of the Municipal Returns Strategy (see Municipal Returns Strategy paper). Sustainable returns will not occur unless broader communities issues are addressed. Progress on returns is, in large part, a function of the progress made by the PISG to reach out to all communities and ensure the protection of their rights. In this regard, the Municipal Returns Officer will participate in both the municipal returns and communities structures to ensure that the municipality's approach to returns is consistent with and part of an overall approach to building an tolerant and secure environment for all communities.
Finally, the Municipal Returns Officer will be responsible for gathering and disseminating information related to returns to and from the municipality, displaced persons and returnees, and other key stakeholders in the returns process.
The Municipal Assembly President will remain responsible for ensuring high-level political support and engagement on returns, while the Chief Executive Officer will continue to ensure that municipal directors and staff provide support for returns activities as appropriate within their areas of responsibility.
Municipal Working Groups and Task Forces remain the primary structures for addressing returns issues and coordinating returns-related activities at the municipal level. The Municipal Returns Officer is expected to attend Municipal Working Groups and Task Forces, and will provide input to and support for their work.
UNMIK Municipal Representatives and Local Community Officers will be available to provide support to the work of the Municipal Returns Officer, along with the UNMIK Regional Returns Unit.
Terms of Reference
The main responsibilities of the Municipal Returns Officer can be broken down into the following four areas:
Participation in and Support to Existing Returns Structures
Coordination of Municipal Engagement in the Returns Process
Development of Municipal Returns Strategy
Information Gathering and Dissemination
I. Participation in and Support to Existing Returns Structures
Facilitates, in coordination with the Municipal Assembly President and Chief Executive Officer, the regular functioning of the existing returns structures (Municipal Working Groups and Task Forces)
Participates in existing returns structures, and assists the Municipal Assembly President and Chief Executive Officer who also participate in those meetings
Performs administrative tasks required to support the existing returns structures, such as scheduling meetings, notifying participants, compiling and distributing agendas in relevant languages, and taking minutes
Participates in meetings of standing committees (e.g., Communities Committee, Mediation Committee or Policy and Finance Committee), and other forums in which returns-related issues form part of the agenda
II. Coordination of Municipal Engagement in the Returns Process
Facilitates municipal engagement in returns-related activities at the municipal level and moves those activities forward by working to ensure that:
Municipal directorates and departments commit resources to the development, implementation, and monitoring of projects supporting sustainable return or creating the conditions for return.
Municipal directorates and departments facilitate the delivery of public and social services to returnees including health, education, social welfare, and public utilities
Facilitates participation by senior municipal officials in Go-and-See Visits and Go-And-Inform Visits in coordination with UNHCR, UNMIK, KFOR, CIVPOL and other key stakeholders
Liaises with key stakeholders in the returns process, including displaced person representatives, receiving community representatives, UNMIK, UNHCR, NGOs, KFOR, and UNMIK Police, to ensure coordination of activities
Monitors returns projects and briefs the Chief Executive Officer and Municipal Assembly President on current progress
III. Development of Municipal Returns Strategy
Assists the Chief Executive Officer in the preparation of the Municipal Returns Strategy and participates as a member in the Municipal Returns Strategy Committee (where established)
Works with the Municipal Assembly President and the Chief Executive Officer to ensure that the current Municipal Returns Strategy serves as the framework for the activities of the Municipal Working Group during the year
Engages existing municipal communities structures (Additional Deputy Presidents, the Municipal Community Offices, Communities Committees, Mediation Committees, etc.) to ensure consistency between the municipality's approach to returns and its broader approach to integration of communities as reflected in the Municipal Returns Strategy
IV. Information Gathering and Dissemination
Facilitates links between representatives from the IDP/refugee community and the municipality by assisting in the dissemination of returns-related information from the municipality to these communities and vice versa. Returns-related information may include the Municipal Returns Strategy, agenda/minutes of Municipal Working Groups and Task Forces, information about property, statistical information about returnees and the displaced, etc.
Assists Municipal Assembly President and Chief Executive Officer in ensuring that the relevant municipal officials are fully briefed on current returns policy and practice
Participates, in coordination with existing communities structures, in practical briefings to new returnees on available municipal support and services
Assists Municipal Assembly President and Chief Executive Officer in ensuring that all communities are informed about municipal returns-related activities. This may include the dissemination of Municipal Returns Strategy and agenda/minutes of Municipal Working Groups and Task Forces as public information.