As Kosovo rebuilds after years of conflict in the Balkans, the World Habitat Day celebrations took on a special significance with the focus this year on young people and the key role they are playing in helping reshape their cities.
The UN-HABITAT programme in Kosovo, with the support of the Swedish government, is helping six secondary cities in Kosovo with new urban planning involving as many stakeholders as possible. And the World Habitat Day 2006 celebrations in the Kosovo cities were aimed at spreading the message of inclusiveness, decentralization, and the role young people can play in shaping their future.
In Ferizaj, Urosevac municipality, a special meeting was organized with the municipal planning team and the board of directors at which the World Habitat Day message of Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary- General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT was discussed. Problems like reducing the flow of people into Kosovo’s cities and towns were raised, as were the lack of policy making and coordination at the international, national and municipal level for better urban development and management. For Ferizaj, officials said her message on inclusive cities and building more bridges carried special significance.
In Gjilan, in Gnjilane municipality the celebration of World Habitat Day involved a drawing contest for local school children around the theme of World Habitat Day, ‘Cities – magnets of hope’. The judges representing UN-HABITAT and the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, selected three best drawings by pupils at the Thimi Mitko school and then joined pupils in a debate on how they see the future of their city. The children made it clear that they wanted order in the city, greener areas, a zoo, and play grounds.
In Peja, local school children participated in a hands-on workshop that looked at practical issues like their own spatial development at their school, local transport and problems related to the school environment. The pupils divided into four groups, were able to work with drawing material and aerial pictures of the school.