Kosovo addresses system confusion

17/11/2012

A unified address system will provide better public services for the country.

By Muhamet Brajshori for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 17/11/12

photo

Most homes in rural Kosovo do not have addresses. [AFP]

The address system in Kosovo is confusing. Road names and house numbers exist only in larger cities, and rural areas and small towns do not have an address register. It is common to add notations of landmarks and points of orientation on the envelope when sending a letter.

And the letters and documents that fall through the cracks can be life changing.

"I was accepted at a university in Germany, and had ... until the end of July to accept or not the admission. Although they had sent the documents to me, I never got them. In August I got the reply that my place was given to somebody else," Shyqri Hasani from Podujevo told SETimes.

Shaban Beqiri from Pristina did not receive a court summons.

"The courier of the court was not able to find my address in my village in Koliq, and returned [the summons]. After I [asked] what was going on with my case, the court told me about the problems," Beqiri told SETimes.

But the confusion is coming to an end.

Kosovo's Cadastral Agency is implementing an address system in the country, ensuring that all buildings and dwellings have an address that meshes with the unified system.

The system is important for spatial information, enables better postal services to Kosovo's citizens, makes collecting taxes easier and helps public service companies collect their due.

"As a result of the Unified System of Address, services will be provided in a prompt and safe [manner to] citizens," Amir Sogojeva, head of the Address System Unit in the Kosovo Cadastral Agency, told SETimes.

"Kosovo ... is learning from experiences in the region, but also from Europe, especially from Norway. The system that is being created is a very advanced system and very usable for government institutions, as well as for businesses and citizens in in general," Sogojeva said.

To gain an overview on the situation of the address register in Kosovo, the Cadastral Agency has implemented a pilot project in the municipality of Prizren. With the help of the EU office in Kosovo, about 200 people are gathering address data in the field. The project is expected to be finished in December 2013

Qorraj says that as soon the address system is implemented and accessible to the courts, their work would be more effective.

A unified system will facilitate the work of law enforcement agencies to uphold court decisions, and to deliver court documents to citizens and institutions.

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"Since the end of the war, courts have encountered great difficulty in carrying out their work due to addresses,'' Aishe Qorraj, an information official at the Kosovo Judicial Council, told SETimes.

The problems with addresses is not uncommon in the region.

In Albania, the systems used throughout the communist era and after also just addressed buildings, not homes or other dwellings. The country launched a new system last year.

In Slovenia, the address system was created in 1996 and was largely similar to Kosovo's. Both countries experienced problems in rural areas while they moved to the new addresses, but those have since been fixed.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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