Within the regional project, ENV.net, supported by the European Commission, ATRC in cooperation with NGOs from Republic of Macedonia marked World Day of Water on 22nd of March and organized cross country activity with the aim to raise the awareness of the population in both countries for environmental protection and advocacy for implementation of environmental policies.
The activity included cleaning of the River Lepenc that flows in both Kosovo and Macedonia and connects both countries in Hani I Elezit. Partner organization from Skopje, 4x4x4 Balkan Bridges, engaged their volunteers to clean the river on their side of the border while ATRC with their respective volunteers cleaned the same river on the Kosovo side. At 12:00 o’clock both parties met on Kosovo side, in Hani I Elezit, and gave a clear message that even though border splits environment is the one that connects.
During this cross country activity there were different participants from local and central level Kosovo institutions such as Ferat Shala, Vice Minister, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Qeram Telqiu, Political Adviser, Naser Bajraktari, Director of Water Department, Arben Qitaku, Secretary General, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Rufki Suma, President of Municipality of Hani i Elezit, Besim Ilazi, Presinent of Muunicipality of Kacanik, Sokol Haliti, President of Municipality of Viti, Agron Bektashi, Director of Regional Environmental Center (REC), Avdulla Nishori, Project Manager, REC, Kushtrim Kaloshi, Executive Director, ATRC. From Republic of Macedonia present was Nurhan Izairi, Minister of Environmental and Physical Planning and his partners.
During this activity, a “Joint Declaration” prepared by NGOs engaged in this activity was read. The declaration said that “We want to open a new chapter of mutual cooperation for achieving joint aim that is clean and healthy environment for current and future generations”.
Ferat Shala, Vice President of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Republic of Kosovo and Nurhan Izairi, Minister of Environmental and Physical Planning of Republic of Macedonia said that all institutions in Kosovo and Macedonia, as well as citizens in general, have the obligation and are responsible for their actions that are linked with water resources, in order to protect them.
This joint activity sends clear the message that we are ready to cooperate in protection of joint water resources by drafting joint platforms for this. Let this joint activity be the initial phase of actions to be taken by both countries. This was said by representatives of both countries.