22 November 2007 – UNDP, the British Office Pristina and the Ministry for Communities and Returns have visited a house under construction and handed over the keys to the owner of a newly reconstructed house in Plemetina village under a UNDP project, on Thursday, 22 November 2007. The construction of the house is part of a larger returns Programme of UNDP, that in close cooperation with the Ministry of Communities and Returns, provided housing and socio-economic assistance to more than 200 individual returnee families since November 2005. This number covers the families who have individually decided to return.The Government of the United Kingdom is one of the main contributors to the programme with 1.5 million Pounds used in reconstruction of up to 150 houses. Out of those funds, up to date 49 houses have been completed, 28 houses are under construction and final preparatory works for reconstructing further 29 houses is underway.
The handover of the keys was done in a small ceremony with the presence of the media. The house belongs to a 19 member Galici family, who returned in summer 2007 from Belgrade, where they lived in very bad conditions. They have been assisted with a 95 square meter house financed by the UK Government.Mr. Frode Mauring, Resident Representative, UNDP Kosovo, congratulated for newly reconstructed houses and emphasized the need for continuation of joint work of all stakeholders involved in returns process. “All over Kosovo we jointly support Individual returnees of all ethnicities in Kosovo to come home to their place of origin and to start a new life after long displacement”, said Mr. Mauring.
Mr. Branislav Grbic, Minister for Communities and Returns said that he is very glad to see reconstruction of the houses for returnees going on all over Kosovo. “We should all look to the future and explore even more possibilities for those that wish to return to Kosovo”, he said.Mr. David Blunt, Head of the British Office, Pristina mentioned that the aim is to bring back together communities again and not to divide them. “The UK Government will continue to contribute in returns process and make possible for all communities to live in peace and dignity”.
The UNDP Office in Kosovo is deeply involved in assisting the Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG) to achieve its commitment to the implementation of the Kosovo Standards 3 and 4 through the Sustainable Partnerships for Assistance to Minority Returns to Kosovo (SPARK) programme that provides an integrated umbrella mechanism for delivering the full spectrum of multi-ethnic assistance to individual/spontaneous and organized group returns. The Programme is financed by the Government of Kosovo and the British Government to the value of 20 million dollars.