UN-HABITAT on Tuesday announced that it had signed agreements with the Serbian cities of Kragujevac and Nis to begin implementation of a new social and housing integration programme for tens of thousands of war refugees and other vulnerable people in Serbia. Under a “quick start” initiative building will begin in October.
The Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme in Serbia (SIRPS) springs from a memorandum UN-HABITAT's Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka signed with the Government of Italy in September 2002. Under its terms, Rome has provided 15 million euros (USD 18.6 million) for the programme that will run for three years.
A signing ceremony with representatives of the two cities, UN-HABITAT and Italy, was held in Belgrade 12 August outlining the framework of the programme. Signatures of other five Framework of Collaboration agreements with the municipalities of Cacak, Valjevo, Kraljevo, Pancevo and Stara Pazova, will be held next month.
At a news conference, Italian and Serbian officials paid tribute to the “quick start” initiative that will see the first building sites open by the end of October. For further background, see http://www.unhabitat.org/serbian refugees