Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kosovars Returning to Peace and the Promise of Development

Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo people have fled the province since violence began to break out in the mid 1990s. Now, with the help of UNDP, these families can return to this once war-ravaged area with the hope of peaceful development.

In the village of Vidanje in the Central-West of Kosovo, the UNDP has implemented the Government Assistance to Returns project, which has helped Kosovo-Serbs return to their previous homes alongside Kosovo-Albanian neighbors. Through this UNDP project, more than 50 houses have been reconstructed. A community center has been established and a functioning electrical and sewage system, as well as suitable roads, have been constructed, thus literally paving the way for Kosovo’s future.

On his visit through Kosovo, Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator for UNDP Ad Melkert, stressed the importance of refugee return within the goals of development and the necessity to foster an inclusive development for peace. Remarking to two returned families, one Kosovo-Albanian-Christian and the other Kosovo-Bosniak-Muslim, Melkert said:

It is important to provide a future for the young people in Kosovo so that they are not only encouraged to stay, but also are reintegrated into a society that has a place for everyone.

It is this type of development, aware of the conditions of social cohesion particular to this post-conflict region, which helps to make UNDP projects not only successful now, but successful for years to come on the road to recovery ...

For more details, see this UNDP Press Release.