EU and UNDP restore Cultural Heritage sites in Kamenicë/a

Dec 13, 2016

Kamenicë/a – December 1. 2016 In the presence of the highest level European Union, United Nations Development Programme, municipal officials, and religious leaders, more than 200 guests, many of them citizens of Kamenica, marked the completion of cultural heritage restoration and rehabilitation works implemented by the EU funded and UNDP implemented “Confidence Building through Cultural Protection” project.

The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the renovated town park where Nataliya Apostolova, Head of EU Office in Kosovo/ EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Andrew Russell, UN Development Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kosovo, and Begzad Sinani, Mayor of Kamenica officially opened the park.

Mr, Begzad Sinani, welcomed all guests emphasizing that this was a result of joint work that brought together citizens and religious communities of Kamenicë/a. “I want to thank the EU and UNDP with whom we had a very successful collaboration. The results speak for themselves”.

Nataliya Apostolova,, stressed that she is very happy to mark the completion of an EU project which provides the citizens of Kamenicë/a with reconstructed, valued and important facilities which  represent  cultural heritage. “The intention is to build confidence among different communities through protection of cultural sites of importance for all citizens. Through our implementing partner, UNDP, this EU project has provided tools for cooperation between communities in Kamenica on protecting and promoting their rich and diverse cultural heritage sites”, said Apostolova. She also added that respecting the cultural diversity and heritage of all communities in Kosovo is important element of a multi –ethnic society and Kamenica can set a positive example for the rest of Kosovo.

Andrew Russell, thanked the municipality for their good will and also the EU and religious communities for believing in this project. “It is a pleasure to be working in partnership with the EU on the “Confidence Building Through Cultural Protection” project. UNDP has a strong track record of designing and implementing projects in the area of cultural heritage as a broader peace building and conflict prevention programmes. Our joint work is a real testament to the hard work and commitment of the municipalities and all communities in ensuring that protecting and promoting Kosovo’s rich and diverse cultural heritage is a shared responsibility”, ended Russell.

On behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kamenicë/a, Fr. Dragisa Jerinić addressed the guests stressing that it is important to show that people here can live together and not only next to each other.  “I want to thank the EU and UNDP for deciding to implement the project here and the municipality who enabled the successful completion of the project. We will always welcome future projects and will work together to promote our culture and respect the culture of other communities”, said Fr. Jerinić

Imam Bejtullah Hasani, Head of Islamic Community of Kamenicë/a said that the sites are not only religious but also sites of cultural heritage that reflect peace and prosperity. “This initiative showed everyone that our joint mission is tolerance and harmony”.

Following the ceremony in the Town Park, guests also had a guided tour of the renovated Haxhi Gani Sermaxhaj Mosque and upgraded Serbian Orthodox Church St. Nicholas yard.

The Confidence Building through Cultural Protection project focuses on renovation, beautification and rehabilitation of cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo, working in close cooperation with EULEX and the Kosovo Police Unit for the Security of Buildings and Cultural Heritage. The overall aim of the project is to contribute to improved inter-community tolerance and respect for cultural identity and heritage.

Contact information

UNDP: Burbuqe Dobranja at burbuqe.dobranja@undp.org  or  +381 (0) 38 249 066 ext.410 or +386 49 720 800

EU Office/EUSR:Syzana Bytyqi Jagxhiu at Syzana.Bytyqi-Jagxhiu@eeas.europa.eu or + 381 (0) 38 5131 329 or + 377 (0) 44 220 538