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Flags with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, placed all over the city centre, gave a clear message that Vitia, with pleasure and confidence, is part of the movement for global sustainable development. This municipality is the first in Kosovo that has embraced the global platform of Agenda 2030.

At the beginning of 2017, Vitia established a partnership with the German municipality Kirchhain, as a part of the project “Partnership for Sustainable Municipalities”. The partnership can be translated as “The Service Agency Communities in One World” and was created by the Engagement Global initiative by the Federal Ministry of Germany for partnership and sustainable development. The project targets the 17 global objectives in compliance with Agenda 2030, supported by the UN.

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In alignment with the project, the Municipality of Vitia organized an event for the public. The event, which took place on July 11th 2018, featured experts and politicians from Vitia and Kirchhain, who outlined  Agenda 2030, sustainable development, and the partnership between Vitia and Kirchhain.

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The Mayor of Vitia, Mr. Sokol Haliti, acknowledged that the project held significant value in the municipality. Mr. Haliti promised a close partnership with the municipality of Kirchhain, and also mentioned that Vitia is one of the first municipalities to have this kind of partnership with the municipality of Kirchhain. He declared the opportunity is not only a pleasure, but also a priority for Vitia to participate in. Mr. Haliti expressed his thanks to the municipality of Kirchhain for their partnership, as well as the UNDP and other agencies  from UN for their assistance to achieve global development objectives. Mr. Haliti stated that Vitia already has completed important steps towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which they will present to the public.

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The Mayor of Kirchhain, Mr. Olaf Hausmann, presented on their community’s achievements, as well as their history, wealth and past projects. He mentioned that together with Mayor Haliti, they will work together on achieving the objectives of sustainable development.

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Other presenters included Ms. Meike Bonsa from the Department of Property and Construction, Professor Rainer Waldhardt and Ms. Stefanie May, representatives of the municipality. Each presented various projects completed by the municipality of Kirchhain, in alignment with the report of Agenda 2030.

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Mr. Alban Sokoli from the Office of Environment in Vitia presented information on the environment within the municipality. He spoke on the flora and fauna in Vitia, including the presence of the Balkan Lynx.

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Ms. Ulrika Richardson, Development Coordinator of the United Nations in Kosovo and representative of UNDP, said that within Agenda 2030, there are three fields of development: social, economic and environmental. “We must empower our role for taking new decisions”, said Ms. Richardson. She also spoke on the history of the Sustainable Development Goals, giving attendees context into the goals and information on how the goals could be implemented.

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Mr. Shpend Qamili, Communication and Advocacy Officer from UN Kosovo Team, focused on Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. “From 17 objectives there are 169 goals, which we should aim to attain by the year 2030. Meanwhile, as citizens, we must validate our goals towards this movement. Together with goals there is also 232 indicators, which show the quality and tell us if we are going towards the right way” said Mr. Qamili.

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To speak about municipal-level actions for achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals was the director of Association of Municipalities in Kosovo, Mr. Sazan Ibrahimi. “One of the most important goals from the Association on Municipalities of Kosovo is also trading good experiences and bad ones between Kosovo and other country. There is a lot of positive development in Kosovo, not only achieving the goals for sustainable development”, said Mr. Ibrahimi.

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After presenting the project “Partnership for Sustainable Communities and Cities”, there was also a debate between 100 participants, who were representing different groups of interest. The participants were interested in future challenges in implementing the project. The project includes 12 partnerships between German municipalities and municipalities from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. There are municipalities outside Vitia with similar partnerships, including Mushtiti/Suhareka’s partnership with the German municipality of Troisdorf.

The project is in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030 formed by the UN, approved in September of 2014 in New York. Every partnership has specific fields within sustainable development. Other than sustainable cities and communities and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals), Vitia and Kirchhain have created a partnership on three other objectives: Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 13 (Climate Change) and Goal 15 (Life on Land).

Therefore, in October, along the main road in the village of Smir, within the municipality of Vitia, more than 200 trees will be planted. The total cost of the project will be 5000 Euros. In the village of Klenseelheim, within the Kirchhain municipality, there will be a parallel project in field of environment that will also cost 5000 euros.

The mayors of both municipalities, Sokol Haliti and Olaf Hausmann, have agreed on a partnership that will also continue well after the end of the project, which will take place in November 2018.

Written by Lis Kotori, Communications Intern and Sarah Tenus, Communications and Parliamentary Intern

Photos taken by Chunyuan Hu, Communications Intern

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