Regional Housing Programme stakeholders gather for 35th Regional Coordination Forum and visit RHP projects in Montenegro
Podgorica, Montenegro, 10 May 2022 – The 35th Regional Coordination Forum (RCF) of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) took place in Podgorica, Montenegro, today, hosted by the Lead Institution in Montenegro, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. The Forum marked the first opportunity for key international RHP stakeholders – not only Partner Country (PC) representatives but also the main Donor, the European Union; other key Donors Germany and Switzerland, and the partner organisations the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and UNHCR, to meet in person since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting focused on reflecting on the achievements of the Programme and addressing challenges ahead, including preparations for the close-out of the Programme in 2023. Additional representatives, including another key Donor, Norway, joined the discussions by videoconference.
On behalf of the Lead Institution, Budimirka Đukanović welcomed all participants, and led a minute of silence in the memory of Daniel Hurtado Dominguez of the European Union, a longstanding friend and champion of the RHP who had recently passed away.
CEB representative Marja Seppälä commended all RHP stakeholders – the PCs in particular, but also RHP Donors – for their dedication and commitment to the Programme to date, which had enabled more than 9 000 housing units to be delivered to beneficiaries in need. Nevertheless, she underlined that 20% of homes remained to be delivered, and that much work remained to be done in the remaining 14-month period to ensure the smooth close-out of the Programme.
On behalf of the European Union, Liselotte Isaksson echoed these remarks, noting that the Donors counted on the continued efforts of all PCs to bring the Programme to a successful conclusion.
Finally, Anne Marie Deutschlander, representing UNHCR and OSCE, noted with satisfaction that over 90% of beneficiaries had been selected, and called on PCs to continue to strive to deliver homes to all initially-planned beneficiaries, pointing out that the current crisis in Ukraine highlighted the need to demonstrate the effectiveness of regional cooperation efforts to assist displaced persons.
The meeting was followed by a joint site visit by RCF members to the municipalities of Danilovgrad and Nikšić. In Danilovgrad, houses for four families will be delivered in the coming period. The RHP delegation was welcomed by one of the beneficiaries, Predrag Tintor, at his future home, where he will live with five other family members. Since fleeing Croatia during the war, Mr. Tinto and his family had lived in sub-let apartments, firstly in Serbia and then since 2004 in Montenegro. “There are no words to describe how much this means to us,” he said. “We are overwhelmed, and eager to see the completion of our home.”
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Danilovgrad, Zorica Kovačević and Ilija Grgurović, thanked the Donors and other RHP key stakeholders for their contributions and commitment to delivering housing solutions to the citizens of Danilovgrad, and Mayor Kovačević presented participants with plaques of appreciation.
The mission concluded with a visit to the future Home for the Elderly in Nikšić, which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2022 and which will provide a new home to 104 very vulnerable beneficiaries. This facility is of the utmost importance to the community and Montenegro as a whole, and one of the most prized projects in the recent period.
- 10 May, 2022
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