Mayors of 13 municipalities in the Pèinja and Jablanica districts of South Serbia have agreed to implement a peace building programme funded by the Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund.
The Promoting Peace Building in South Serbia is a joint UN programme backed by the governments of Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, the main supporters of UN joint activities in South Serbia.
The ceremony at which the mayors signed letters of intent was attended by Mr. Milan Markovic, Minister for Public Administration and Local Self Government and President of the Coordination Body for Medvedja, Presevo and Bujanovac, lead partner in the project.
Bringing together several specialized UN agencies, the programme will be implemented jointly by UN-HABITAT, the UN Development Programme, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Office of Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The 13 partner cities are: Vranje, Trgovište, Bosilegrad, Vladièin Han, Surdulica, Bojnik, Medveða, Leskovac, Lebane, Vlasotince, Crna Trava, Preševo and Bujanovac. UN-HABITAT supports community cohesion and inclusive development in the municipalities.
Implementation is expected to start in January 2010 and will last two and a half years.
The Programme was formally endorsed on 15 September 2009 in Belgrade with the signatures of the Minister of Public Administration and Local Self Government of the Republic of Serbia, the representative of the Spanish Government, the UN Resident Coordinator and representatives of UN-HABITAT office in Belgrade.
UN-HABITAT will partner with the municipalities to strengthen capacities of local self governments, institutions and civil society to engage in conflict/violence prevention planning through participation, dialogue and partnership for improved safety, and integrating safety concerns within development efforts, fostering long term stability, reintegration and good governance.
UN-HABITAT will adapt its Safer Cities platform, already successfully used in other parts of Serbia, to provide a structured process of capacity building measures to support municipal administrations and civil society partners. This will help them develop and upgrade strategies and plans, through participation and partnership building (including with police), which will address issues related to safety, conflict and security concerns at local level and integrate them within the development efforts, fostering social cohesion, and conflict management capacities.