Kosovo - a Step Closer to a Circular Economy

March 30, 2023

Transitioning to a circular economy is not only a smart move for economic competitiveness and people’s well-being, but it is also critical for a sustainable future. Circular economy is a solution to the biggest challenges we are facing – overconsumption of natural resources, climate change, biodiversity loss, and accumulation of waste.  

Our consumption and production patterns have to change. The Earth’s natural resources are simply not enough to cater for humanity’s needs – and we cannot continue borrowing from the future generations. It is time to move from traditional ‘take, make, dispose’ models to regenerative, circular ones. We need to focus on how to extend the lifecycle of the materials we use, how to reuse or recycle them, and how to minimize producing waste.  

Circular economy is one of the key elements of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans which Kosovo is fully committed to. Adopting circular approaches will help Kosovo accelerate its transition to a more resilient and low-carbon economy. With a young and highly innovative and creative population - Kosovo is well placed to become a regional model in terms of circularity.

Reflecting Kosovo’s creative potential, creative industries is identified as one of the key sectors in transition to a circular economy. It will also feature as a priority theme for Kosovo’s Smart Specialization Strategy, with a strong scientific and entrepreneurial potential that drives the transformation of materials and innovation. Other priority areas for advancing circularity include food system, forest system, manufacturing, retail, and built environment.  

A shift to a circular economy will have an impact on the job market: while some jobs will disappear or change in nature, new jobs will emerge. UNDP recently conducted an analysis on the impacts that the move to circular economy could have on the labour market in Kosovo. The results are promising - but the transition is successful only if supported by the right policies, adequate skilling or reskilling of the youth, reforms in education system and increased investment in research and development.   

The Circular Economy Roadmap of Kosovo was launched this week. With the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure in lead, UNDP supported the co-creation process – an intense one-year journey which was highly participatory in nature. A wide range of stakeholders representing different disciplines, interests, and perspective enthusiastically contributed to defining the vision and way towards a circular economy.  

By laying out the potential that Kosovo has in terms of this transition, the Circular Economy Roadmap serves as a great foundation and a commitment for public institutions, the private sector, academia, civil society, and development partners to come together and take this transition forward.  


Blog by Maria Suokko, Resident Representative UNDP in Kosovo