Top government and civil society leaders have formally laid the first foundations of new homes under an Italian-financed UN-HABITAT housing and social integration programme for tens of thousands of war refugees and other vulnerable people in Serbia.
Special ceremonies were held in the municipalities of Niš on 9 August, Stara Pazova on 28 July, and of Kragujevac on 1 March at which senior government and local officials were at hand to witness the start of a long and carefully planned programme.
The Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme in Serbia (SIRP) started in a Memorandum of Understanding UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka signed with the Government of Italy in September 2002. Under its terms, Italy has provided 15 million euros (US$ 18.6 million) for the construction programme which is scheduled to run for three years.
UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Capital Investments, has also been implementing the programme in Cacak, Kraljevo, Pancevo, and Valjevo.
The programme aims to provide some 670 new homes for 3,000 refugees and vulnerable people, to build institutional capacities for social housing development, assist the social and economic integration of refugees and displaced people, and help boost the development capacity of local governments in their development planning and municipal information systems. Ground breaking ceremony in Stara Pazova