Ambassador Kosnett’s Remarks at the Donor Coordination Forum for Economic Recovery, August 28, 2020
Good afternoon, Prime Minister Hoti, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, my colleague Mr. Serri, other colleagues from the diplomatic and donor communities.
The High-Level Donor Coordination Forum, under the Government of Kosovo’s lead, gathers us annually to align donor assistance and Government of Kosovo strategic priorities. This year we are gathering virtually under extraordinary circumstances. No country has all the answers to our common challenges, and it is vital we continue to pool our knowledge and exchange ideas as we move forward.
Every country is facing the challenge of how to provide resources to address urgent medical needs with how to restore and strengthen the economy. This is not a zero-sum proposition. Managing the pandemic goes hand-in-hand with preparing for an economic recovery. Gaining control over the threat posed by the virus, and ensuring the health of the community, is a prerequisite to economic recovery. A full economic recovery will not be possible if pandemic management fails.
The United States and the rest of the international community remain committed to assisting Kosovo. As the U.S. mobilizes its scientific and industrial might, we are increasingly able to provide equipment and supplies to Kosovo, complementing ongoing financial contributions and technical assistance.
These Donor Coordination Forums can be an effective way of aligning priorities so scarce resources – both Kosovo’s resources, and those provided by international partners – are effectively programmed. We need to improve communication, prioritize needs, and ensure an end to “donor shopping.”
And while we internationals can provide equipment and share expertise, we don’t have magic wands in our toolboxes. So the Government’s ability to manage the COVID threat depends more on mobilizing and coordinating domestic resources and people power than on foreign assistance. The Government needs to be able to demonstrate detail-oriented commitment for its plans to work, and that includes mobilization of domestic resources and better inter-ministerial coordination.
And political parties need to put the needs of the nation ahead of politics as usual, focusing on passing economic legislation quickly and avoiding the usual detours into parochial squabbles.
I will close by underscoring that while the government must lead, fighting COVID is a job for every citizen. When the pandemic hit Kosovo, individual citizens, businesses, and organizations were among the earliest to respond. The government’s economic recovery plan can serve as a catalyst for meaningful engagement with citizens, organizations, and the private sector to leverage the resources that already exist in Kosovo.
The people of Kosovo are famous for their energy and ingenuity. Those are your secret weapons.
Thank you for your time, and let’s make the most of the opportunities this conference provides.