Mission dAdministration Intérimaire des Nations Unies
REQUESTS FOR SUPPORT TO
The most immediate concerns of UNMIK revolve around questions of accommodation for homeless returnees, as well as internally displaced persons. In order to avoid a situation in which such temporary accommodation might become indeterminate, UNMIK would urge an expansion of bilateral housing renovation and construction programmes in order to ensure the prompt departure from the shelters of returnees whose homes either have been destroyed or who did not have housing in Kosovo. In addition, support is sought for the operation, maintenance and winterisation of temporary community shelters at a cost of approximately DM 3 million to continue the programme through next spring. (Pledges have been received to keep the shelters open until the end of the year).
The key to providing a sustainable solution to the accommodation problem for returnees is that the Housing and Property Directorate (HPD) has the funding to be able to operate successfully. The HPD will affect returnees in that it has exclusive jurisdiction over property claims presented by refugees and displaced persons; it will operate a temporary allocations scheme to allocate empty properties on a temporary basis; and it will be establishing claims collections facilities in countries housing large numbers of displaced Kosovars. The latter will allow returnees to begin addressing their property needs before they return. However, the HPD is currently severely under-funded and in danger, given its current capacity, of not having the capacity to deal with any property issues affecting refugees. Such a predicament would leave returning Kosovars without any recourse in the event of property ownership disputes. Funding is therefore sought for all aspects of the HPDs work, at a cost of approximately DM 4 million to meet the budgetary shortfall this year. (Pledges of DM 1.5 million have been received so far.) The requirements for 2001, when the HPD is due to become fully operational, are currently estimated at DM 20 million.
The potential strains of an increased caseload on the social service structures, particularly the Centres for Social Work (CSWs), are daunting. Existing budgetary provisions for staffing will not suffice if large numbers of returnees place additional demands on these fragile, newly established services. In particular, a fund should be established to meet the inevitable urgent demand for emergency subsistence payments to destitute returnees until job placement and training services restore economic self-sufficiency. This fund has been estimated to require approximately DM 2 million to cover the upcoming winter months.
The Mental Health Task Force, including WHO and the Department of Health and Social Welfare, is in the final stages of endorsing the draft Mental Health Strategic Plan for Kosovo. This proposal sets forth a comprehensive scheme for a community-based mental health-care programme benefiting the entire population of Kosovo. While implementation of this project will take time, it does offer the prospect of enabling those refugees in need of such facilities to return to Kosovo in the near future. The budget estimate for this project stands at DM 20 million.
Adaptation to the Kosovo job market may prove especially difficult for those returnees who have spent a significant amount of time abroad. The re-absorption of those who have acquired professional skills not normally associated with the local economy could prove frustrating. In view of these practical realities, UNMIK proposes that this pool of talent be utilised in its job-training programme, for which an additional DM 90,000 is sought to incorporate these skilled workers as trainers.
Access to land is a prime concern if a significant number of the returnees should return to the rural economy. A full-scale rural resettlement programme may be required, as well as assistance in the form of agricultural inputs to newly reinserted farmers. Such an operation would become an important component of a comprehensive rural development programme, whose characteristics and cost would be defined with the active involvement of FAO expertise.
The return of an unexpectedly large number of children (40,000 according to recent estimates, or an increase of 10% of the student population) places new demands upon the already overstretched education system. Additional teaching staff, classrooms, textbooks and other didactic materials will be required, at a cost that can only be calculated once the size of the new influx can be estimated. The particular needs of children who are unfamiliar with the curriculum and/or language of instruction in Kosovo will require specialised programmes for which no budgetary provision currently exists. An assessment of the cost of such programmes needs to be prepared once the magnitude of the demand can be ascertained. Finally, returnee expectations of opportunities in higher education will likely require supplemental resources for vocational and professional training for those young people who do not find a place at university.