Chargé d’Affaires Hyland Remarks at the Launching Conference for Millennium Foundation Kosovo

Chargé d’Affaires Hyland Remarks at the Launching Conference for Millennium Foundation Kosovo, November 20, 2017

Good morning everyone, Prime Minister Haradinaj, Congressman Engel, MCC Senior Representative Nash, Petrit.  I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the critical transition to the Millennium Foundation Kosovo, and to help kick-off this latest chapter in the special partnership between our two countries.

Congressman Engel, we’re honored to welcome you here this morning, and it seems truly fitting that one of Kosovo’s greatest friends and supporters should be here to help mark this occasion.  It only takes a quick ride down the street in Peja named for you to get a sense of the unique place you hold in Kosovo’s heart.

And of course we welcome the Millennium Foundation team, joining our efforts as the newest member of our strong American presence here in Kosovo.

Today is the culmination of the hard work and perseverance of so many who believe in Kosovo’s future and in the power of the MCC to help Kosovo achieve its goals.  This process has involved an extraordinary amount of study and rigor, and what’s incredible is just how quickly Petrit and the MCC Kosovo team, working in close coordination with the team back in Washington and our people here at USAID, were able to get this done for the people of Kosovo.  I want to acknowledge the UNDP Team as well, which kicked off this process by collecting indicator data, without which none of this would have been possible.

I know we all feel optimism, pride, and determination as we transition now to implementing the $49 million Threshold Program, with the knowledge that the real measure of our collective efforts will be in the impact felt in people’s lives all across Kosovo.

Prime Minister Haradinaj, we know your government has the weighty responsibility of implementing the program with efficiency and accountability for all of Kosovo’s citizens, and we’re looking forward to partnering with you.

And we expect the Foundation to waste no time in getting to work. We are confident it can leverage our progress and partnerships in both the energy sector and on transparent governance to help take our collaboration to the next level.  We’re counting on it, we’re counting on everyone involved, because there are few issues more vital to Kosovo’s future.  One fuels the country’s economy and the other gives power the people.  Kosovo needs both to thrive and achieve its many ambitions.

In the energy sector we’re excited that the Threshold Program will focus, in part, on household-level energy efficiency, giving families the ability to regulate and make decisions about usage, and helping to reduce consumption, cost, and waste.  New incentives for investing in renewable energy sources and making room for the independent power producers in Kosovo will also be critical.

On the governance side we’re pleased to see a focus on increasing public access to government information and decision-making, on everything from court judgments and judicial decisions to air quality.  Taken together, these and other projects will not only lead to improvements in judicial transparency and even public health, but will encourage greater partnerships between the government and civil society to tackle a broad range of issues on behalf of Kosovo’s citizens.

Everyone here has a part to play in what comes next, and especially as these projects get designed and underway, that means continuing to clearly articulate the Threshold’s objectives.  Kosovo’s citizens want and need to understand the MCC Threshold, and the communication is critical to ensuring that they can play an active role in holding the program accountable for progress.

Congressman Engel and Mr. Nash, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts this morning on the U.S.-Kosovo partnership, and on the unique role that the MCC Threshold program will now play in Kosovo’s development.  We’re so proud to celebrate this extraordinary achievement, and this milestone in our partnership, and we’re ready to get to work on all that comes next.