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Kosovo: UN food agency launches first-ever inter-ethnic aid consortium

Kosovo: UN food agency launches first-ever inter-ethnic aid consortium

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a consortium of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - billed as the first-ever public agreement by a multi-ethnic group to work together for all the province's people - to continue providing aid after the UN agency ends its emergency food assistance on 31 March.

The Consortium for Inter-ethnic Development (CID) will continue to undertake key health, social welfare and youth reconciliation projects, WFP said. Along with CARE International, the agency will encourage donors to provide resources to support the activities of the group, which is composed of six local organizations that have worked with the UN agency since 1998 to distribute food in province.

At its peak, the WFP operation fed more than one million people in the province, however, it has been scaling down operations in light of recent socio-economic and political improvements in Kosovo. It plans to undertake its last food distribution on 18 March.

In preparation for its departure, WFP has also been working with the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to establish a permanent state-run welfare system to include local centres charged with identifying and assisting the most vulnerable households.