|For Information only
Not an official record
Statement by BTF at the
FIRST DONORS CONFERENCE ON KOSOVO
Brussels, 28 July 1999
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to inform you briefly about the
recent activities in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, by the joint United Nations
Environmental Programme (UNEP) and UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Balkans Task
A team of the Balkans Task Force, based in Pristina, is concentrating
its efforts on creating mechanisms for land title registration, resolving tenancy and
property disputes, and strengthing municipal adminstration and leadership.
Existing housing and property legislation
contravenes a variety of internationally recognised human rights provisions. Following the
recent conflict it is apparent that a great number of properties are illegally occupied.
Urgent action is required to reform the legislative framework.
Cadastre records have also been damaged, destroyed or
moved. As these form the basis for restoring housing rights, taxation, registration and
urban management, action is required to reconstruct the cadastre system across Kosovo.
Municipal government in Kosovo was neither truly
representative nor effective due to the preponderance of centralised authority and
functions. Given the vacuum in civil adminstration, there is an urgent need to create
structures and procedures to meet the immediate needs.
Another team of international environmental experts left yesterday
Belgrade, after visiting the worst damaged industrial sites, mainly in Serbia, resulting
from the Kosovo crises. The team visited Pancevo industrial complex, Novi-Sad oil
refinery, the Zastava car factory in Kragujevac, factories in Nis and Bor, and fuel depots
in Kraljevo, Prahova and Pristina. These sites are seen as « hot spots », where
hazardous substances are found spilled into the environment.
The scientist took extensive soil and ground-water samples at all the
sites, and will study them in detail at their national laboratories.
Further missions will continue the scientific work during the month of
August, assessing the quality of the Danube river, studying the consequences of the war on
natural resources, and making detailed research on the longterm effects of the crises on
human health and environment.
The joint UNEP/Habitat Balkans Task Force is working as an integral
part of the UN system, and will submit its final report to the Secretary-General of the
United Nations in September of this year.
Thank you for your attention.