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The SDG Brunch meeting was organized by the financial support of the UN Kosovo Team Development Coordination Office (UNKT DCO) and by the coordination of the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) in order to create awareness on the issue of climate change. The specific theme for the brunch was on the recent concern about the air pollution in Kosovo. The event took place at Kino Armata, in Prishtina on 30th October 2019.
The gathering was officially launched with a short welcoming speech from Ms Isme Humolli (WHO), In her speech, Ms Humolli pointed the need for urgent attention to the air pollution in Kosovo, which will result in the environmental and health problems. She also remarked the need for the involvement of different institutions both governmental and non-governmental including the overall community to get involved in the work to guarantee better health conditions of the people residing in Kosovo.

Ms Isme Humolli(WHO) on SDG Brunch Oct 30/2019- Photo by Ines Maxhuni (UNKT)

Next, Executive Director of INDEP Mr Burim Ejupi gave an opening remark on the behalf of INDEP, regarding air pollution and the need for further action beyond bringing the topic to a discourse. According to Mr Ejupi, real and tangible actions are needed from the government, such as in preventing the population from using coal as a source of energy. However, there should be an alternative source of energy and heating systems set in place. Finally, Mr Ejupi stressed the need for urgent and broad attention regarding air pollution in Kosovo and noted that if adequate measures are taken by all the stakeholders, it is possible to change the condition in Kosovo.

Mr Burim Ejupi (INDEP) on SDG Brunch Oct 30/2019- Photo by Ines Maxhuni (UNKT)

The event had three presentations from different organizations, the first presentation was presented by Ms Learta Hollaj and Mr Dardan from INDEP titled “Air Pollution- the Silent Killer.” In the presentation, it was noted that power plants, nickel productions, constructions, paper and textile productions, road, railway and air transport and burning of lands have been identified to be the main sources behind air pollution in Kosovo. In addition to such activities, the lack of adequate policies to monitor such undertakings are also mentioned to be a gap that the government should revise. Moreover, in the presentation pictures of pollution from Skopje, Mitrovica was shown. In the case of Kosovo, the industry plantation Kosovo A is identified to be the biggest polluter in Europe, also, Kosovo B has been recorded to have a huge gas and smoke emission into the environment. The presentation furthermore explained awareness creation actions have been taken with the introduction of an application which measures the pollution in the environment. Finally, it was suggested that residents of Kosovo make environmentally cautious choices, such as using a bicycle and walking instead of cars. As a final remark, it was mentioned that only 4080 days are left for the 2030 SDGs goals to be finalized and urgent and active response is required to address this issue.

Ms Learta Hollaj and Mr Dardan(INDEP) on SDG Brunch Oct 30/2019- Photo by Ines Maxhuni (UNKT)

The second presentation was by Mr Arblir Pireva from UNDP- “Development Work for Healthier Kosovo” The presentation explained the project that is done with the support from the Luxemburg government in collaboration with the UNDP and the WHO, with the involvement of the local government and other institutions that are working on Health and Environment. In the presentation, a result of a survey conducted by including all the minority groups in Fushë Kosovë/ Kosovo Polje Municipality was presented. In the finding 68% of people said the pollution is a key environmental problem, 32% of people said lack of adequate waste management are crucial problems in the environment and 69% claimed to be ready to join in the process to resolve the environmental problem. The activities in the project also included in installing air purifiers in schools which is now endorsed and  supported by the local government.

Mr Arblir Pireva (UNDP) SDG Brunch Oct 30/2019- Photo by Ines Maxhuni (UNKT)

The last presentation was by Ms Dafina Mucaj from UNICEF- “The impact of environmental pollution on the development of the child’s brain.” Ms Mucaj Demonstrate the effect of environmental pollution on the health of an unborn child, pregnant woman, newly born children and new mother’s health. It was mentioned that children aged from 3-5 years get exposed to pollution from outside of the house since they play outside, and children aged from 0-3 years get exposed to pollution from indoor smokes of cooking and heating systems in the households. Both outdoor and indoor pollutions have been proven to affect the brain development of a child. In addition to industries and transportations, smoke emissions studies have also shown 71% of households in Kosovo emit heavy smoke into the environment. In the brunch SDG 3(Good Health), 7(Ensure Access to Affordable Reliable Sustainable and Modern Energy for All) and 9 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13( Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) have been identified to be the major SDGs.

Ms Dafina Mucaj (UNICEF) SDG Brunch Oct 30/2019- Photo by Ines Maxhuni (UNKT)

Finally, a plenary session for the question and answer was set and the house got the chance to ask different questions in order to clarify and explain the issues presented. The event was concluded with the presentation of an award for lucky winners of online quiz participation. Finally, all attendants got the opportunity to network over a brunch.

Reported By: Anene Negeri Regassa

United Nations Kosovo Team: Development Coordination Office

October 30/2019
Prishtina, Kosovo
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