British Embassy and United Nations jointly support Kosovo in strengthening health and education sectors in wake of COVID-19
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
British Embassy Pristina / United Nations Development Coordinator
This Monday, the British Embassy in Pristina joined forces with the United Nations to launch a project aimed at a series of integrated and inclusive health and education interventions, with a view to aid Kosovo’s recovery from the first wave of COVID-19 and reduce vulnerability to future waves.
Developed in consultation with counterparts at the ministries of health and education, the $2.5m project entitled Return to (New) Normal in Kosovo: Strengthening resilience through a safe and inclusive return to normality in health and education in the wake of COVID-19 will be implemented by UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and the World Health Organization between now and March 2021.
In the area of health, the project will focus on strengthening COVID-19 detection capacities through regional laboratories in Gjilan/Gnjilane and Prizren and mobile x-ray facilities in Gračanica/Graçanica, as well as the promotion of reliable COVID-19 messaging and preventative measures. Non-COVID related essential health services will be supported through e-health services available via phone or the internet and by reinforced immunisation programmes for children and adolescents.
In the area of education, the project will support the safe reopening of schools through ensuring compliance with COVID-recommendations in schools and by providing support for children with special needs or those at risk of dropping out from school. A particular focus of the project will be on young women and girls.
Due to the ongoing COVID restrictions, the project was launched by means of a low key, virtual signing ceremony involving the British Ambassador Nicholas Abbott and the United Nations Development Coordinator Ulrika Richardson in Pristina and the Designate of the Secretary-General for the United Nations’ COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Jens Wandel, in New York. The heads of United Nations agencies UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WHO were also in attendance.
“In these challenging and unprecedented times, I am pleased to share with you that the United Kingdom will fund an ambitious six-month project to support Kosovo in strengthening the resilience of the health and education sectors,” the British Ambassador said. The United Nations explained that its focus would always lie on seeking to ensure that groups already marginalised prior to the pandemic were not left behind even further. “As Kosovo reopens for business, a return to a new normality must be both safe and fair,” Ms Richardson emphasised. Mr. Abbott and Ms. Richardson were joined in their remarks by a representative of the Secretary-General in New York in charge of administering the United Nations’ COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund. “This programme shows that we can overcome COVID-19 challenges with innovative solutions like digital education and telemedicine applications,” Jens Wandel said. “This is the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals, and it is the spirit of the Secretary-General’s COVID-19 Fund. I am grateful to the UK for their investing in the UN’s work to support countries in recovering better. They are supporting UN Reform and the critical operationalisation of the Development Emergency response.”
The UK is joining dozens of other donors who have supported global action via the UN’s trust fund across the world.
The launch ceremony was live-streamed on social media.
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The British Embassy in Pristina maintains and develops relations between the UK and Kosovo. It works closely with the government of Kosovo on a wide range of issues, including rule of law, good governance, human rights and security.
The United Nations Development Coordinator Office – UNDCO is an entity that facilitates dialogue and coordinates the work of UN agencies, funds and affiliates to ensure that collaborative effort has an efficient and effective impact in Kosovo. The UN Development Coordinator is the head of UN Kosovo team, and it is part of the global RC system, appointed by the UN Secretary General.
The United Nations (UN) COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund – COVID-19 MPTF is a UN inter-agency finance mechanism launched by the UN Secretary-General to support countries in overcoming the health and development crisis caused by the pandemic. The Fund targets those most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption. By leveraging the critical expertise and delivery capacities of UN Agencies, it helps close gaps in country preparedness and response plans and safeguards progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It is a transparent, accountable, and cost-effective mechanism.