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Belgrade, 17 Jan 06

UN-HABITAT has received 8.5 million dollars from the Italian Government for a social and housing integration programme for tens of thousands of war refugees and other vulnerable people in Serbia.

The funds received on 27 December 2005, are the second allocation of a total of 15 million euros Italy is disbursing for the programme. The first portion of the funding was disbursed a year ago. The programme aims to provide some 670 new homes for 3,000 refugees and vulnerable people, to build institutional capacities for social housing development, assist the social and economic integration of refugees and displaced people, and help boost the development capacity of local governments in their development planning and municipal information systems.
UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Capital Investments, has been implementing the programme with the Municipalities of Cacak, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Nis, Pancevo, Stara Pazova and Valjevo.

Known as the Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme in Serbia (SIRPS), it was initiated in a memorandum UN-HABITAT's Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka signed with the Government of Italy in September 2002.

“In the context of severe budget restrictions that affect all Italian development assistance, the early payment of the 2nd installment demonstrates the appreciation of the Italian Government for the work undertaken by UN-HABITAT,” said the agency’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.

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