RHP stakeholders discuss status of RHP close-out steps and lessons learned at Trustees’ meeting in Kopaonik, Serbia
Kopaonik, Serbia, 5 April 2023 – The efficient delivery of remaining Regional Housing Programme (RHP) homes by the end of the Programme in June 2023, and pending close-out steps, were some of the key topics discussed at the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia (KIRS) 17th Trustees’ Meeting in Kopaonik, Serbia, on 3-5 April 2023.
The meeting was attended by more than 300 participants, including Partner Country representatives, the Czech Republic, and representatives of municipalities across Serbia, as well as the RHP implementing partners the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and UNHCR, among others.
Key speakers at the opening session included Nataša Stanisavljević, Commissioner for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia; Petr Doležal, Consul of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Serbia; Sara Groen, Deputy Head of Mission of the OSCE Mission in Serbia; Darko Petrović, Programme Manager of the Regional Housing Programme at the CEB; Stefanie Krause, UNHCR Deputy Representative in Serbia; Slavica Jelača, Assistant Minister for Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs in the Republic of Serbia; Igor Popović, Deputy Director of the Government of the Republic of Serbia Office for Kosovo and Metohija, and Željko Brkić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.
Pointing out the need to continue providing support to those in need, Commissioner Stanisavljević stated: “Migration is a complex and important global phenomenon that involves the movement of people from one country to another due to various reasons, such as economic, social, political or environmental situations. That is why it is important that we are all here today to exchange experiences on these topics, with the common goal of providing support to those who need it most.”
On behalf of the Czech Republic, Petr Doležal pointed out that in addition to the RHP, the Czech Republic had supported a number of migrant and refugee-focused projects in the Western Balkans. “This financial support is mainly used for building and increasing accommodation capacities, improving the quality of accommodation in transit and reception centers, the provision of material assistance to asylum seekers and migrants, the procurement of technical equipment as well as the recruitment and training of people.” he said.
Praising RHP stakeholders for the accomplishments of the Programme over the years, CEB representative Darko Petrović additionally noted: “The RHP is now on the final stretch of implementation, with less than three months remaining. We already know that the Programme will be a success – more than 10 000 highly-vulnerable refugee and displaced families have already received homes, and we are confident that this figure will rise to more than 11 300 by Programme-end. In Serbia alone, approximately 7 000 housing solutions have been delivered to date.” He added a particular thanks to the international Donor community – the Czech Republic included – and in particular the largest Donor, the European Union, which had contributed over EUR 235 million to the RHP.
During the working group meetings and panel discussions which followed, a number of stakeholders underlined the positive impact of the RHP on the Western Balkans, and predicted that the Programme would serve as a stepping stone for future bilateral or trilateral co-operation in the region. All Partner Countries confirmed their commitment to completing any remaining tasks following the close of the Programme later this year.
- 5 Apr, 2023
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