European Agency for Reconstruction Press Release, June 16, 2000
Mr. Hugues Mingarelli, Director of the European Agency for Reconstruction, launched today the Agency's programme for the Reconstruction of Housing in Kosovo in 2000. The launch took place at a ceremony attended by SRSG Dr. Bernard Kouchner, representatives of all 18 implementing NGO partners, the 19 Municipal Housing Committees from the municipalities where the Agency is working, the 9 companies which have been awarded the 14 large supply contracts and the Agency appointed Procurement Specialist. In addition to this large group of bodies directly responsible for successful implementation of the programme by December 2000, the invitees included representatives of UNMIK, including the Department of Reconstruction, representatives of the EU member states based in Pristina, the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce and staff of the Agency itself.
In his keynote address, Mr. Mingarelli officially introduced the Agency's new housing programme for the year 2000:
"The Agency has allocated DM 110 million from year 2000 funds to assist the reconstruction of 8,000 homes across Kosovo, in accordance with the standards set out in the Guidelines of the UNMIK Department of Reconstruction. Over 50% of the total of 8,000 houses will be from the completely destroyed category.
Already by the end of May, the Agency had signed 31 contracts for 94% of total funds.
This new programme for 8,000 houses follows on from the previous one in the period December 1999 - June 2000, during which time the European Agency for Reconstruction has already assisted the rehabilitation of 3,500 war damaged homes, with funding of DM 28 million. Eleven NGO partners from the EU, Prompt as procurement agent and over 40 sub-contracted suppliers were engaged in this first phase programme.
In 2000, individual EU Member States, including Sweden and Denmark, will provide at least a further DM 23 million to assist reconstruction of 1,600 more houses. This is in addition to well over 4,000 houses already rehabilitated with 1999 funds from individual EU member states.
Combining these figures from the Agency and EU Member States, the European Union will have assisted Kosovars to reconstruct over 17,000 homes in Kosovo by the end of 2000.
This rapid rate of progress would be impossible without the admirable 'self-help' contributions of Kosovar beneficiaries and the solidarity exhibited by the inputs of their local communities.
The very hard work put in by the Agency's NGO Implementing Partners and their colleagues in the Municipalities has also been vital to the success to date, and will be even more important given the targets we have together set ourselves for the remainder of 2000.
KFOR has also been of very substantial support to many Implementing Partners and the beneficiaries in projects to date, and we look forward to the continuing engagement of KFOR and KPC teams in the new projects.
For the new programme for reconstruction of 8,000 houses, we rely on critical Kosovar inputs within the UNMIK established Municipal Housing Committees. Note also that over 350 Kosovar professionals are employed alongside 70 internationals with our NGO partners, a further 300 Kosovars are employed by our suppliers (13 out of 14 suppliers being from Kosovo) and over 2,000 local craftsmen will be engaged for 7 months to assist the most vulnerable with rebuilding their homes.
On a day marking the start of this second phase of the Agency's assistance to housing reconstruction, it is important to note that these programmes are of course built on the significant achievements of the 1999 emergency shelter programme of ECHO, EU Member States, UNHCR, OFDA, Japan and other donors.
It is now up to all of us present here today to work in partnership together with the beneficiaries to achieve our targets."
Dominique Larsimont, Spokesperson:
+873 762 066 017 (sat phone)
038 549 962 (local)