The leaders from Mitrovica in Kosovo who are members of the Forum for Cities in Transition (a former minister of Kosovo, a public servant in North Mitrovica, an NGO leader in North Mitrovica, a former member of the Kosovo Parliament and two Directors of FCT Global from UK)* have signed a Memorandum of Understanding dated 08 February 2021 to promote cross-community activities between Albanians, Serbs and other communities in Kosovo, to bridge the economic, social and cultural capital of these communities. This cooperation between South and North Mitrovica aims to achieve greater social cohesion and impact in the longer term, in accordance with the Brussels Agreement.
This partnership agreement is the result of discussions begun in 2009 during FCT activities, and intense negotiations in which the International Communities Organisation has led since 2019 for the achievement of peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Kosovo.
Under this partnership agreement, FCT Mitrovica is being registered as a foundation in Kosovo. FCT Mitrovica commits to configure and support connections between North and South communities and municipalities. The work will include development of large infrastructure projects in collaboration of both sides for the benefit of the wider community of Mitrovica. On a regional and an international level, FCT Mitrovica will seek collaboration with experts and independent organisations based on shared values of cross-community peace-building to address specific issues experienced by everyone in Mitrovica.
Mitrovica has become a living symbol of segregation between Albanians and Serbs, who are physically divided by the Iber/Ibar River that runs through the town. The bridge in Mitrovica, connecting the north and south banks of the Ibar River is as symbolic as it is functional. Since 1999, the town has become ethnically segregated along the Iber/Ibar River. With the war’s end, a severe outbreak of violence in 2004, and the declaration of Kosovo’s independence, the population moved in two directions, with the southern bank occupied predominantly by Albanians and the northern bank occupied predominantly by Serbs. There are also several other ethnic communities living in the city and its surrounding villages. For all practical purposes, the two largest communities live in different systems with different languages, currencies, telecommunications, electricity supply, and so on. The northern part of the city is governed by a range of international, Serbian, and Kosovar institutions. The southern predominantly Albanian part is governed by its own municipal institutions. The security situation in Mitrovica is tense, and unemployment is very high, with over 65% officially unemployed. Youth unemployment at around 60% in the city is furthering frustration, causing an exodus looking for better opportunities. Despite these immense challenges, the situation lately seems to be improving, and Mitrovica continues to benefit from a very active civic society community.
- Sadri Ferati
- Dragan Spasojevic
- Stevan Vukadinović
- Valdete Idrizi
- Prof. Padraig O’Malley
- James Holmes