An ambitious social housing programme with significant funding from the Government of Italy and support from UN-HABITAT kicked off in Kragujevac, Serbia on March 1.
Mr. Daniel Biau, UN-HABITAT’s Regional and Technical Cooperation Division director oversaw the landmark event in the presence of Mr. Velimir Ilic, the Minister for Capital Investments and Mr. Alessandro Merola Ambassador of Italy in Serbia and Montenegro. Also present were the Mayor of the City of Kragujevac, representatives of the Kragujevac City Housing Agency, and mayors of the other six Municipalities who are set to benefit from the UN-HABITAT Programme. The premier site will see the construction of the first 32 social housing units of a targeted 96, which is benefiting from an Italian Government contribution of about 1.2 million euros while the contribution of the City of Kragujevac is in land and infrastructure, equivalent to approximately 30% of total costs. Construction of these apartments represents a new step in the development of the social housing system, carried on at Republic and municipal level with support of UN-HABITAT’s Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme in Serbia (SIRP).
The first public rental apartments will be handed over to beneficiaries by the end of 2006, the same year slated for the opening of other building sites in SIRP Municipalities.
SIRP was initiated through a memorandum between UN-HABITAT's Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and the Government of Italy in September 2002. The Government of Italy is financing this Programme with a contribution of 15 million euros. UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Capital Investments, is implementing the programme with the Municipalities of Cacak, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Nis, Pancevo, Stara Pazova and Valjevo.
The ceremony followed the second Steering Committee of SIRP held in Belgrade on February 28th. The Committee adopted the 2006 work plan for the implementation of the programme. The SIRP team also used the occasion to launch the ‘UN-HABITAT in Serbia and Montenegro’ web site (www.unhabitat.org.yu), which will soon be on line and also be linked from UN-HABITAT’s main web site.