Kosovo Resettlement Environmental Assessment

Neptune and Company, Inc. prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) report for the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian (RAE) Economic, Social, Transition, Advocacy and Resettlement/Reintegration Program (RESTART) Relocation Area.  This report provided compliance with the USAID Environmental Procedures, listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 22, Part 216 (22 CFR 216). These Environmental Procedures ensure that environmental factors and values are integrated into the USAID decision making process and require preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) to be approved by USAID prior to execution of USAID funded contracts that may have environmental impacts.           

The USAID in Kosovo and the European Commission Liaison Office (ECLO) to Kosovo jointly funded a program to build row houses in South Mitrovicë/Mitrovica for 140 families of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian (RAE) Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and support their resettlement from the camps in North Mitrovicë/Mitrovica.  Resettlement was necessitated in part from concern regarding the health and safety of IDP camp residents in the vicinity of historical lead smelting operations due to continued high risk of lead exposure. The Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared in conjunction with a human health risk assessment to ensure that appropriate actions were taken during and subsequent to development of the relocation site to minimize human health risk and protect environmental values.  The relocation site, though in much lesser degree than the IDP camps, also poses potential risk from exposure to lead in soil, groundwater and air.  The potential for health effects from lead exposure at the relocation site were evaluated in the EA and recommendations for alternative actions were offered.         

Project Implementation: Information gathered in Kosovo from USAID, its contractor, Kosovo governmental organizations, and other parties was integrated with the results of existing reports and analyses documenting environmental contamination and human exposure in the vicinity of the relocation site and in other areas of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. The EA identified a preferred alternative action of relocation of individuals from the IDP camps to new housing at the relocation site in conjunction with actions to minimize lead exposure both at the new location and in other key settings, including school yards. News on this project as of Dec 2010 from the USAID Kosovo web site: “USAID, through its RESTART program, has successfully moved these fifty families into their new units but also continues to work with the European Commission Liaison Office and the Government of Kosovo to expand the resettlement efforts for the remaining ninety families in the polluted IDP camps. This resettlement project greatly improves the promise for longer-term sustainability of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities.”