EULEX contributes to making greener schoolyards in Obiliq/Obilić

04 May 2023

On 26 April, the Head of European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the Mayor of the Municipality of Obiliq/Obilić, Xhafer Gashi, the Municipal Director for Environmental Protection, Fitore Hashani, the Municipal Director of Education, Sahit Zeqiri, and the Director of Kosovo Forest Agency’s Directorate for Forest Management, Menderes Ibra, joined the NGO “Keep it Green” in planting 150 trees donated by EULEX in the backyard of the school “Dr.Ibrahim Rugova” in Obiliq/Obilić.

Opening the tree planting ceremony, the school Director, Shyhrete Gashi, thanked EULEX for its support and recalled the commitment of the school in teaching children the importance of taking care of our planet: “There is only one planet we live in and when we take care of our earth, we take care of our health,” Gashi pointed out.

Reaffirming the willingness of the Mission to contribute to the efforts towards environmental protection not only in Obiliq/Obilić but across Kosovo, EULEX’s Head of Mission, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, highlighted that this is everyone’s responsibility. Noting that this is also a rule-of law-issue, Wigemark said: “Environmental crimes such as deforestation, illegal wood cutting, and illegal waste management, are examples of why the rule of law is important for the environment”.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Obiliq/Obilić, Xhafer Gashi, recalled the engagement of the municipality in fighting environmental pollution and stressed the need for cooperation among different stakeholders: “Our municipality is known to be very polluted because of the power plants. Fortunately, our municipality has started to change positively. And this is thanks to the cooperation between local and central institutions, including the continuous support of EULEX and international organizations.”

During the past weeks, the Mission also supported the planting of 90 pine trees in the backyards of “Ismail Dumoshi” and “17 Shkurti” high schools in Obiliq/Obilić, as well as in Plementin/Plementina.  On 2 May, “Keep it Green” planted 120 trees at the "Ibrahim Rugova" school in Mazgit.

These tree planting activities are part of a joint project of EULEX and “Keep it Green” aimed at partially offsetting the Mission’s carbon footprint and at contributing to the mitigation of the harming effects caused by air pollution in Kosovo.

The initiative was launched on Earth Day, on 22 April 2022, when the Mission planted 3,200 pine seedlings in the restricted area of the Kosovo A power plant in Obiliq/Obilić. On 30 May, EULEX and “Keep it Green” planted trees in the schoolyard of the School “Naim Frashëri” in Gllogoc/Glogovac, whereas on 7 November 2022 they planted 40 trees at the Students’ Center of the University of Pristina.