GENEVA, April 23, 2015 – Five years following Kosovo’s independence declaration, the newborn state is slowly but surely adapting to new emerging global challenges.
Kosovo’s post-war challenges still require the involvement and support of international organisations possessing the relevant expertise to act as a knowledge provider to a country still attempting to strengthen its statehood.
It is a well-known fact that climate change and environmental degradation remain one of the world’s most troubling issues.
According to a recent report published by the World Meteorological Organization, disasters caused by natural hazards are on the rise and pose a serious threat to several countries including the Balkans.
Therefore, disaster risk management remains an important subject for Kosovo’s institutions – In close collaboration with UNDP Kosovo, the country is increasing its capacities to address natural hazards deriving from climate change and environmental degradation:
“UNDP Kosovo is heavily engaged in supporting the Kosovo institutions to built capacities for disaster risk management through the Kosovo Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative (KDRRI) project.
“Also, many activities are conducted mainly at local level to build disaster preparedness for natural hazards as for example: floods, earthquakes, fire, etc,
“Beside the KDRRI project, UNDP is also active in climate change in the frame of the Support to Low Emission Development (SLED) project.
“Kosovo is not excluded from climate change. The recent frequent floods, heavy rainfalls and increase of landslides as a consequence are just some real facts showing that climate change is affecting Kosovo,” UNDP Kosovo states to the news agency Presheva Jone.
Currently, very few actors have shown interest in offering Kosovo the needed expertise to manage natural hazards.
Therefore, UNDP Kosovo’s commitments to strengthen Kosovo’s disaster management capacities are well received by Kosovo’s government as well as officials at local level.
“KDRRI project doesn’t provide support to crisis preparedness such as war, only to natural disasters which are relevant to Kosovo.
“Kosovo’s institutions highly recognize and acknowledge the support of UNDP in disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management since there are very few donors putting attention to it.
“UNDP has a great cooperation with all relevant local and central level institutions. The cooperation during planning and implementation of activities is at excellent level which results in successful implementation of mutual activities,” UNDP Kosovo points out to Presheva Jone.
Raising public awareness about natural hazards
2013 marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most shattering earthquakes in the Balkans.
In 1963, an earthquake registered as 6.1 on the Richter’s Scale struck the city of Skopje resulting in the death of 1,070 people and injuring thousands of civilians. The earthquake also affected neighboring Kosovo.
The country’s eastern regions are considered as one of the most earthquake-affected areas.
In 2013, UNDP, UN Volunteers, Save the Children and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in collaboration with Kosovo’s government, Red Cross of Kosova and the Municipality of Gillian held an emergency training in the primary school “Selami Hallaqi” in Gjilan to raise the municipality’s capacity development preparedness level.
According to statistics obtained from UNDP, 19 Kosovo municipalities have marked the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction to raise public awareness about risks related to natural hazards, a remarkable achievement as it nearly involves all of Kosovo’s municipalities.
In addition, UNDP’s Kosovo office also confirms to Presheva Jone that the organization offers “brochures to Kosovo’s citizens in Albanian related to self-protection against earthquakes, floods, fires, avalanches and drought (saving water).”
The brochures provide useful information about the risks related to natural hazards, precautionary measures and alerting emergency response systems in affected areas.
According to UNDP, a similar exercise was also done in close collaboration with the Association of Blind and Visually Impaired Persons, especially at the high seismic risk municipalities such as Gjilan, allowing all relevant communities to understand the risks related to earthquakes.
Other examples of achievements reached by UNDP, in close collaboration with Kosovo’s government, are the strategies on managing water resources and addressing climate change.
“The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning through the Strategy for Water Management and Strategy for Climate Change is implementing measures to address the climate risk mitigation and adaptation.
“Whereas, the Ministry of Internal affairs through the Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (which is currently being finalized, still not approved by the government of Kosovo) will in legislative manner coordinate the reduction of risk from natural hazards,” UNDP Kosovo states to the news agency Presheva Jone./ Blerim Mustafa
Photo credit: UNDP Kosovo
* This article was written by the author in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the view of Leidar
Link to original article (Presheva Jone, also available below): http://www.preshevajone.com/undp-kosovo-is-not-excluded-from-the-effects-of-climate-change-2/