· Environment affects directly our daily lives - and determines our proper growth and development. To lead a healthy life in a balanced way, we all need and deserve a healthy environment.
· Air pollution has become an increasingly serious health threat globally. Every hour, hundreds of people die all around the world due to polluted air. Far too many suffer from illnesses due to the air they breathe. Air pollution affects women and girls more than men.
· Air pollution is one of the biggest problems affecting people’s lives in Kosovo. Air pollution is caused by coal-fired power plants, traffic, and wood and coal burnt in homes. Also, poor waste management, unsustainable use of natural resources and rapid construction are seriously threatening the health of Kosovars, children and elderly in particular.
· There is a lot of work to be done. Through this joint programme, are able to engage with those who truly care about the environment – and raise the awareness of those who are able to change the course of development. We need to continue to raise our concerns and work towards ensuring a healthier environment for us - and future generations.
· UNDP gives high priority to this joint initiative. This project contributes towards achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals that also Kosovo has committed to achieve – namely
SDG 3: Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-being for All Ages;
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; and
SDG 13: Climate Action.
· This project also allows us to work in partnership with various actors. And tackling air pollution requires working together across sectors. With experts, government officials, politicians, local decision-makers, businesses – and with communities affected.
· Civil Society Organizations play an important role in tackling Kosovo’s environmental problems. Not only can they complement government’s work in the implementation of the National Environmental Action Plan, but also, they can slow down and reverse air pollution through active campaigning and engagement with all stakeholders.
· Today we are proud to have with us six representatives of CSOs that are committed to making a difference by mobilizing communities; advocating and lobbying on the rights to live in a healthy environment; as well as increasing awareness on negative impacts of air pollution on health.
· We are particularly pleased to see that many of the proposed activities are targeting women and children. Through better information, they will have an opportunity to adjust their lives and lead healthier lives. Better monitoring data is also needed for raising awareness and influencing decision-makers.
· We are confident that your efforts will contribute to making Kosovo a better place for all its people - and future generations to come.