Pristina, 5 October 2020.
This Monday, the British Embassy in Pristina joined forces with the United Nations to launch a project aimed at a series of integrated and inclusive health and education interventions, with a view to aid Kosovo’s recovery from the first wave of COVID-19 and reduce vulnerability to future waves.
Developed in consultation with counterparts at the ministries of health and education, the $2.5 million project entitled Return to (New) Normal in Kosovo: Strengthening resilience through a safe and inclusive return to normality in health and education in the wake of COVID-19 will be implemented by UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and the World Health Organization between now and March 2021. The initiative will be part of the UN Secretary-General’s Response and Recovery Trust Fund (administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office).
In the area of health, the project will focus on strengthening COVID-19 detection capacities through regional laboratories in Gjilan/Gnjilane and Prizren and mobile x-ray facilities in Gra?anica/Graçanica, as well as the promotion of reliable COVID-19 messaging and preventative measures. Non-COVID related essential health services will be supported through e-health services available via phone or the internet and by reinforced immunization programmes for children and adolescents.
In the area of education, the project will support the safety of schools through ensuring compliance with COVID-recommendations in schools and by providing support for children with special needs or those at risk of dropping out from school. A particular focus of the project will be on young women and girls.
Due to the ongoing COVID restrictions, the project was launched by means of a low key, virtual signing ceremony involving the British Ambassador Nicholas Abbott and the United Nations Development Coordinator Ulrika Richardson in Pristina and the Designate of the Secretary-General for the United Nations’ COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Jens Wandel, in New York. The heads of United Nations agencies UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WHO were also in attendance.
“In these challenging and unprecedented times, I am pleased to share with you that the United Kingdom will fund an ambitious six-month project to support Kosovo in strengthening the resilience of the health and education sectors,” Ambassador Abbott said. The United Nations explained that its focus would always lie on seeking to ensure that groups already marginalized prior to the pandemic were not left behind even further. “As Kosovo reopens for business, a return to normality must be both safe and fair,” emphasized Ms. Richardson.
Ambassador Abbott and Ms. Richardson were joined in their remarks by a representative of the Secretary-General in New York in charge of administering the United Nations’ COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund. “The world faces an unprecedented human crisis, and Kosovo is no exception,” said Jens Wandel, and added that, “ “I am glad that the United Nations, with lessons learned from other global crises such as Ebola, has been able to leverage global efforts to stop the COVID-19 pandemic and the suffering it has caused.”
The UK is joining dozens of other donors who have supported global action via the UN’s trust fund across the world.