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Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit response to the phenol spill in northern Kosovo

News and Press Release
Originally published
The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit is currently mobilizing an urgent environmental assessment mission to Kosovo and to Serbia and Montenegro in connection with a spill of phenol to the Ibar River, with impacts to the Sitnica River, from an industrial facility in Kosovo.
The mission is being deployed in response to Requests for International Assistance from the Ministry for the Protection of National Resources, and Environment of Serbia and Montenegro and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), respectively. A United Nations assessment has been requested in order to conduct an independent and neutral emergency assessment of the situation.

The mission will take place from 17 to 21 February 2003 and will be led by a UNEP staff member from Nairobi, supported by a second UNEP technical expert, and Swiss and German experts donated by their respective governments.

The team will conduct a two-part mission with assessments to be undertaken in both Kosovo and Serbia. Through a combination of site visits, interviews, sampling and analysis, the team will provide a detailed description of the nature, impacts and possible causes of the incident, and suggest immediate and longer term mitigation strategies.

The team will meet with relevant authorities and local scientists and experts in Pristina and Belgrade, and with relevant United Nations organizations operating in the region.

Upon completion of the mission, a detailed written report, outlining the conclusions and recommendations of the mission, and priority needs for assistance, will be completed and made available to the concerned authorities in Kosovo and Serbia and Montenegro, other United Nations organizations, and the donor community.

More information about the mission can be obtained from Mr Vladimir Sakharov, Chief, Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, tel. +41 22 9171142, e-mail:, or, Ms Patricia Charlebois, Environmental Affairs Officer, Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, tel + 41 22 9171815, e-mail:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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