Western Balkan countries

Kosovo hosts the first regional Practitioners’ encounter on Geographical Indications in Western Balkan countries – KsIIP co-organized it.

Prishtina, 25th of November, 2016 (Read here the Full Report – Debriefing Prizren Encounter 2016)
The first regional Practitioners’ encounter on Geographical Indications in Western Balkan countries was organized in Prizren, Kosovo, on November 22 and 23, 2016.

Participants from invited countries of the Western Balkan countries such as: Kosovo, Albania, FYROM, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina were represented by delegations composed of civil servants, local authorities, producer associations, universities and development brokers. The aim was to cross visions, objectives and practical challenges to build a functional legislative and institutional framework – in line with EU standards – to register and protect product names and support an effective collective action at local level. Practical case studies (at least, one by country) were presented and extensively discussed.

The purpose of this “Practitioners’ Encounter” was to share grassroots and institutional experiences on building GI. The aim of these exchanges on key strategic issues and choices faced at the local/national levels is to increase the stakeholders’ involvement and understanding through the comparisons of these learning processes. This regional Practitioners’ Encounter provided space, time and resources, to extensively discuss both practical and strategic GI issues.

Welcoming remarks were conducted by Mr. Didier Chabert – French Ambassador in Kosovo, Mr Vezir Jonuzi – Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Mr. Francois Lerin – Program Coordinator (HNV Link, BiodivBalkans, Réseau TerAMed), and Mr. Veli Hoti, Director of the Kosovo Institute of Intellectual Property.

Mr. Chabert emphasized that the French Embassy is happy to support such initiatives, especially initiatives were regional countries are involved. France is very experienced with GIs, therefore, we will continue to support the region in developing GIs as we think this is a tool to foster regional cooperation, support the local and regional economic development as well as rural development.

Mr. Januzi welcomed the participants and share the policies of this Ministry towards supporting Geographical Indications in Kosovo. he mentioned that the Ministry in coordination with other institutions will work closely in order to make sure that Sharri Cheese to be a product that will be used as a model for other. product that can be protected by Geographical Indications. Ministry of Agriculture is also working on the wines to be protected by GIs. On behalf of the Minister, the Deputy Minister thanked the participants from the regional countries.

The added value of this Encounter relies on the active participation of key people involved in the GI building process at different levels in their respective country. Here, BiodivBalkans and KsIIP commit to provide special time and original discussion format to share common features and challenges of the EU convergence process on GI, but also to harvest the potential of each national and local experience using GI in their trajectories toward more sustainable territorial development. As each “delegation” was composed in a multi-actor perspective, our discussion embraced all topics of the GI building processes (challenges and promises were included).

The conference was followed by presentations on respective products. Mr. Veli Hoti talked on behalf of the Sharri Cheese of Kosovo, Ms Aleksandra Martinvoc talked on behalf of Pljevaljski Cheese of Montenegro, Mr. Petrit Dobi talked on behalf of Hasi Kid Meat Goal of Albania and Ms. Elena Karovska talked on behalf of Galicki Kashaval of FYROM.

Additionally, Mr. Veli Hoti, Director of the Kosovo Institute of Intellectual Property, made a presentation on the current Kosovo’s legal framework covering the Geographical Indications. Additionally, he made a brief introduction on the roles of the authorities covering the three main pillars of the GIs such as the Certification, Registration and Controlling authorities. It was emphasized the friendly approach of the Kosovo GI law as regards to the Trans-border GIs. This is certainly in line with the EU Regulation and practices.

Hoti appreciated the experience shared by the representatives of the regional countries and mentioned that this is the first regional meeting of this kind and we should be committed to mobilize for future ways of cooperation.

A practitioners’ encounter was organized by the BiodivBalkans project, funded by the French Fund for World Environment (FFEM) & co-implemented by MADA, the Albanian Agency for mountain areas rural development and CIHEAM-IAMM, an intergovernmental organization dedicated to agriculture and rural development in the Mediterranean, with the support of ADECIA, the French network of public agricultural expertise, food and rural development, and with the support of the French Embassies in Kosovo, Montenegro, FYROM and Albania, in relation with Kosovo Institute of Intellectual Property [KsIIP] a non-for-profit association aiming to promote the intellectual property rights in Kosovo and in the region.

At the end, Mr. Hoti thanked the French Ambassador, the French Embassy in general, for the continuous support towards establishing and strengthening the Geographical Indications in Kosovo. Additionally, the financial support and the expertise of the BioDiversity Balkan Project for this event and previous activities are very much appreciated and we hope to continue this cooperation.

It was recommended that TAIEX requests could be used in future activities. TAEX could be a nice tool for calling meetings of this format. These participants should consider themselves as the members of the working group to come up with projects that will foster regional cooperation. EU welcomes any types of initiatives where politics is not involved. Therefore, these opportunities should be used in order to apply for funding and strengthen the regional GIs systems. This way these countries promote tourism and help local and rural development.

TV Interview on KTV – announcing the Regional Event.


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