An inauguration event took place today at the newly opened construction site in Konik, near Podgorica. The event was organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of Montenegro to mark the beginning of construction works for 51 apartments.
The apartments are expected to be finalised in the second half of 2018. They come in addition to another 120 apartments in the same location, which are already under construction and which shall be handed over this autumn to beneficiary families currently residing in the Konik settlement.
Kemal Purisic, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, stated: “By providing housing to the most vulnerable internally displaced and refugees, we help them become part of our society. All those who chose Montenegro as their new home are welcome to stay and we will do all that is in our power to help them integrate. This project is a very good example of those efforts and a great success of the RHP in Montenegro.”
Christian Danielsson, Director General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, underlined: “We can clearly see the importance of these works by looking at and comparing the living conditions to our left, where the newly IPA-funded buildings stand, and to our right, where containers and barracks have so far hosted vulnerable individuals. However, we must not forget the other needs of this population, both social and economic, and we will do our best to help them access education, work, health services, etc. The EU support to Montenegro, as well as to the whole region, can be seen here and I can confirm that we will continue to work together with our partners from the Government.”
Boris Mugosa, Deputy Mayor of Podgorica, said: “I am very proud to say that the City of Podgorica donated the land and the infrastructure for the whole project, and we will soon have the first 120 units completed and families moving in. This is another proof of our commitment to help the most vulnerable populations, together with the Montenegrin Government.”
Sam Healy, the representative of the United States of America, stated: “We know that for many the wait for a home has been long and frustrating; as it has been for us. We are gratified to see the wheels are fully in motion; that real solutions for people are happening on a daily basis, not only in Montenegro but in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. And our work is not over. As the many projects move forward around the region, we will be present to encourage efficiency, fairness, and transparency. Together we will help create a new chapter in the lives of refugees and IDPs who seek a sustainable future.”
CEB’s Vice Governor Rosa María Sánchez-Yebra Alonso highlighted the joint cooperation and synergy between the RHP stakeholders which has made this project possible, in addition to other RHP projects in the four Partner Countries which have so far enabled over 3 000 persons to receive durable housing solutions.
Congratulating the Government on the efficient implementation of RHP projects in Montenegro and on securing conditions that are genuinely conducive to local integration for the most vulnerable displaced population, Anne-Christine Eriksson, UNHCR Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, said that UNHCR was pleased to have contributed, together with partners, to the successful realization of the RHP, including the selection of beneficiaries. While acknowledging that “the work of finding solutions for those displaced still in need is not over in Montenegro”, Ms. Eriksson added that UNHCR stood ready to further support the Montenegrin authorities in their continuous efforts to ensure that these solutions are truly sustainable and based on needs.
Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro Maryse Daviet commended the authorities for their leadership in this important project and for their excellent co-operation with all partners involved. “It is their hard work in the implementation of the RHP that is making a difference in the lives of these vulnerable families,” she said, highlighting the continuous efforts of all partners in further advancing the agenda of the Sarajevo Process dedicated to finding durable solutions for displaced persons from the 1991-1995 conflicts.
This RHP project complements an earlier action financed by the European Commission through IPA funds, where 48 apartments were delivered to vulnerable Konik residents in autumn 2015. Together with the IPA-financed apartments, the RHP project should contribute to the definite closure of the Konik settlement.
- 18 May, 2017
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