Manual for Sustainable Return
Part II - Operational Guidelines - Coordination Mechanism
Municipal Working Group
The Municipal Working Group is the local coordination forum for returns projects. The MWG: (1) provides a forum for different communities to engage in a dialogue on returns issues, (2) acts as the main mechanism through which displaced persons can access the returns process and request assistance to return, and (3) is the principal coordination body for returns projects with primary responsibility for the sustainability of the process. The MWG helps ensure that displaced persons are given a voice in shaping their own prospects for return, and allows the displaced and receiving communities to interact directly in an internationally facilitated and transparent dialogue with donors, governmental authorities, and NGOs.
Chairmanship: The Municipal Working Group (MWG) is chaired by the Municipal Administrator who is responsible for ensuring the meetings are attended by the President of the Municipal Assembly or his Vice President and by other administration officials, representatives of the Municipal Board of Directors and community representatives. The MA is responsible for calling the MWG meetings and ensuring all relevant actors are notified and invited for the meetings (in English, Albanian and Serbian languages). MWGs should meet twice a month, during working hours, in the Municipal Building.
Composition: The MWG is composed of many actors, including UNMIK Pillar II and local municipal authorities, UNHCR, KFOR, CivPol/KPS, OSCE, IDP representatives, local community representatives, and NGOs.
Decision-making: Decisions within the MWG will preferably be taken by consensus among all participants of the Group. If consensus is not reached, the MA, in the capacity of Chair of the MWG, has the power to adopt a decision for the Group that takes into account the consultations and opinions received from the MWG participants. If a participant of the MWG disagrees with the decision taken, it will be registered in writing in the minutes of the MWG meeting.
Operational planning: The MWG, through the MA, can request the creation of a Project Team (PT) in connection to a specific return project, or as considered needed by the MWG. Participation in the PT is reserved to experts - NGOs, UNHCR Local Staff, Municipal technical experts, etc. The Project Team is responsible for following the implementation of a returns project and for providing the implementing partners with the necessary technical municipal support needed. The PT shall coordinate with relevant Municipal departments (such as cadastre, education, urban planning, water sanitation, etc.) to assist implementing partners in the development and implementation of a return project. The PTs are not decisionmaking bodies. If need arises for decision making the PT shall request the MA to call an extraordinary MWG meeting to address a specific issue and take decision. The PTs report to the MWG only. The MA is responsible for designating a UNMIK representative to record conclusions of all PT meetings. In case the MWG fails to meet, the PT should inform the Regional Returns Unit. If issues arise within the PT or MWG that cannot be solved at the MWG level, the MWG Chair shall refer them to the Regional Working Group through the Regional Returns Unit.
Reporting: It is the responsibility of the MA to ensure that a record is kept of conclusions of all meetings of the MWG and PT. The conclusions of both MWG and PT meetings are to be distributed within a week from the day the meeting takes place. It is the responsibility of the MA to ensure that English, Albanian and Serbian versions of the minutes are available for distribution at the same time. The minutes of the meetings shall be distributed to the Regional Returns Unit, the Head of UNHCR Regional Office, the Regional Administrator, Head of OSCE Regional Office and all participants in the MWG and respective PTs participants.
Regional Working Group
The Regional Working Group (RWG) is responsible for coordinating the returns process and integration activities within each region. It also oversees the efforts of Municipal Working Groups and reviews projects endorsed at the municipal level. The RWG is responsible for making sure that the returns process within the region follows the established relevant policy on returns and communities.
Chairmanship: The RWG is chaired by the UNMIK Regional Administrator.
Membership: Members include MWGs representatives - UNMIK Pillar II and PISG Municipal representatives (2 persons), Regional Returns Unit representative, UNHCR, UNMIK Police/KPS, KFOR, Pillar III/OSCE, Pillar IV/EU, and NGO representative (s). Donors and representatives of displaced and receiving communities are welcome to participate in Regional Working Group meetings.
Roles and responsibilities: MWGs to report on their activities and developments to the RWG. Any issues on policy matters arising from the MWGs should be addressed by the MA, as chair of the relevant MWG, to the RWG and resolved either in the RWG or referred to the Returns Coordination Group. It is also the responsibility of the RWG, through the Regional Returns Unit, to make sure that MWGs within the region are operating, meeting regularly (twice a month), with full participation of relevant actors.
Reporting: It is the responsibility of the RA to ensure that minutes are taken for all meetings of the RWG and that they are distributed within a week from the day the meeting takes place. It is the responsibility of the RA to ensure that English, Albanian and Serbian versions of the minutes are available for distribution at the same time. Returns Regional Unit acts as the secretariat of the RWGs. The minutes of the meetings shall be distributed to the ORC, the Head of UNHCR Regional Office, Head of OSCE Regional Office and all participants in the RWG. The RA is responsible for calling the RWG meetings and ensuring all relevant actors are notified and invited for the meetings (in English, Albanian and Serbian language). The RWG should meet once a month. Regional Working Groups report on return activities to the Returns Coordination Group and can refer questions or concerns to the Returns Coordination Group through the ORC for discussion and/or resolution.
Returns Coordination Group
The Returns Coordination Group is a central body intended to address operational issues that arise in the returns process and to ensure coordination of approaches between key actors on returns (UNMIK, UNHCR, PISG, KFOR). The Returns Coordination Group will meet frequently (bi-weekly during the returns season) to facilitate information exchange about the progress of returns efforts, and to provide support for Municipal and Regional Working Groups. The NGO community will also be represented within the RCG.
Technical Advisory Board
The Technical Advisory Board (TAB) provides expert support for the Returns coordination Group. The TAB includes individuals with particular technical expertise in project design and implementation, representing the core members of the Returns Coordination Group, the donor community, and NGO implementing organisations.In addition to its role in making recommendations to the Returns Coordination Group regarding the compiled Prioritised Projects List, the TAB will provide technical guidance to the Returns Coordination Group to overcome hurdles and to build on successes within the returns process.
Task Force on Returns
The Task Force on Returns is a high-level forum chaired by the SRSG and designed to provide coordination and policy support for the return of displaced persons and refugees to Kosovo. The four core members of the Task Force on Returns are UNMIK, the PISG, UNHCR and KFOR. The Task Force also includes the Inter-Ministerial Coordinator for Returns and the SRSG's Senior Adviser on Returns, as well as high-level representatives from each of UNMIK's four pillars and the Housing and Property Directorate. Other organisationsand individuals participate in the Task Force on an ad-hoc basis, including minority community representatives. The Task Force on Returns oversees the returns process, including the efforts of Regional and Municipal Working Groups, and ensures effective and consistent implementation of returns policies among key institutions and across Kosovo.
Office of Returns and Communities and Regional Returns Units
Through its central office in Pristina, its regional Units in each Region in Kosovo and its staff in the UNMIK office in Belgrade, the ORC is responsible for ensuring the overall coordination of the returns process and providing policy guidance to the returns process. Through the Return Coordination Group, ORC coordinates the issues of general operational and technical concern at the central level. The policy guidance and coordination function is translated to the Regional Level through the Regional Returns Units established to support the Regional Administrator and the Municipal Administrator to carryout their responsibilities in the process throughout the region.