European Union Office in Kosovo 
European Union Special Representative in Kosovo

Fourth edition of the Kosovo Sustainable Development Week launched

31/05/2021 - 21:24
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Remarks by Annette M. Fath-Lihic, EUSR Chief Political Adviser/Executive Coordinator, on behalf of the Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative, Tomas Szunyog, at the launch event of the Kosovo Sustainable Development Week 2021

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Dear President Osmani Sadriu,

Dear Prime Minister Kurti,

Dear Ministers Aliu, Rizvanolli,

Dear German Ambassador Rohde,

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Kosovo Sustainable Development Week Partners,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have gathered here, at the Green School in Pristina, and it is not a coincidence. While saying ‘thank you’ to the hosts, I would like to make an appeal: Kosovo needs more places like this one: aiming at decrease in the energy consumption, creation of sustainable buildings and renewable energy supplies and promotion of a healthy learning environment, to name a few.

It is our responsibility to be an excellent example to the young generation, on how to respect and protect our environment.

Having said that, I want you to know that I put a lot of hope in the implementation of the new Government Program for the years 2021-2025, regarding provisions on environmental protection. It states (in the program) “Our vision is planning and quality investments in view of sustainable development and integrated infrastructure in line with a clean environment, well-being and mobility”.

Appropriate measures need to be taken immediately. It is the people of Kosovo right to live in a country, where: the air is fresh, waste is being managed sustainably, there are no illegal dumpsites, mining activities are being diminished, groundwater and soil quality gets better and is free of poisonous lead, water resource monitoring networks are being developed and overall management of water protection zones is just good.

Ladies and Gentleman,

This could be a new reality for Kosovo, thanks to the Government's thoughtful policies, wise actions, exercised legislation and thanks to the public, which awareness of environmental protection grows with each year.

I truly wish for a significant improvement of living conditions, especially for communities living in Obiliq/Obilic region, the Trepca mining complex around North Mitrovica, and around the Ibar River basin.

The ecological transition for Europe can only be fully effective if the EU’s immediate neighbourhood also takes an effective action”. That is why the European Union took a complex, twofold approach. European Green Deal, being a priority for the EU member states, aims at a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy.

On the other hand, the European Commission, by adopting a comprehensive Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans in October 2020, mobilized around €9 billion of funding for the region. The objective is to spur the long-term economic recovery of the region, support a green and digital transition, and foster regional integration and convergence with the European Union.

Kosovo Government in parallel with other Western Balkans states agreed and accepted the Green Agenda launched by the European Commission at the Summit in Sofia, last year.

The European Union representation in Kosovo wish to be a first-hand observer as it comes to the fulfilment of obligations on addressing decarbonisation, circular economy, depollution, sustainable food systems, and the perspectives for rural areas, as well as the protection and restoration of ecosystems in Kosovo.

It is fair enough to say: the European Union has given the tools and is facilitating the process, but the overall responsibility for the environmental condition of the country lies in your hands.

Despite all odds, meaning an uneven fight with the Covid-19 virus, which took so many life’s already, let us make the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans an opportunity for growth, sustainability, and resilience.

Now is the time for bold and coordinated actions and it is what we are waiting for. Saying “we”, I mean the European Union and the people of Kosovo.

I truly hope that this great initiative, which is Kosovo Sustainable Development Week, will bring us precious insight into what we can do for Mother Earth. We urgently need to get eco-friendly for the next generations yet to come.

From this place, I am addressing every single person of Kosovo and the Western Balkan region, wishing you fruitful participation in all events launched during the Kosovo Sustainable Development Week.

Thank you very much for your attention!

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