Today, the Delegation of the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Montenegro signed a contract worth €3 million euros to deliver necessary medical and protective equipment for health workers. The contract is funded by the EU, as part of EU’s emergency aid package to Montenegro for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The project will be implemented by UNDP in close cooperation with relevant national institutions. During an online video conference, the contract was signed by the Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro, ambassador Aivo Orav and UNDP Resident Representative, Daniela Gašparikova. Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Montenegro, Milutin Simović, also attended the virtual signing ceremony in his capacity of Chair of the National Coordination Body.

In times of disruptions in global market supply and transport, the partnership between the Government of Montenegro, European Union and UNDP will help bypass these obstacles and ensure a fast-track delivery of the necessary equipment. The aid package consists of one hundred (100) medical ventilators, ten (10) digital x-rays, as well as a supplies of personal protective equipment for medical workers – including masks, gloves, surgical caps, waterproof gowns and other gear, such as googles.

During the online conference on the occasion of project signing, Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro, Ambassador Aivo Orav thanked all Montenegrin people for having shown solidarity, strength and courage in these difficult times. „Let me recall that we have also made available a further 50 million euros to support Montenegro to deal with the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. Together with the national authorities we will direct our support where it’s most needed: to the health sector, the business sector, entrepreneurs, people in social need and others,” Orav said. Ambassador Orav also expressed his appreciation to the National Coordination Body, and its chair – Deputy Prime Minister Simović, the Institute for Public Health, the Ministry of Health and all other partners who are working hard to protect us all. He also thanked UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Gašparikova and her team for their efforts and efficient preparation to implement the EU’s aid package, in the shortest possible timeframe.

Daniela Gašparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro said that the conference was organised online, so that the partners would demonstrate by example the importance of physical distancing. She emphasised how significant cooperation among all partners is: „In these volatile times, partnership and solidarity are the key to ensure an efficient response, and I am proud how quickly we came together and joined hands. We are in this together, and I believe we will endure this together. The project will help meet the urgent need for protection of those who are on the frontlines – the health workers who are exposed and risking their lives to protect ours.” Gašparikova reiterated that UNDP will continue supporting Montenegro through a set of socio-economic measures that will be needed to recover and mitigate the consequences of the pandemic across different sectors.

Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović pointed out that “at the time when Montenegro is facing the most difficult phase of the COVID-19 epidemic, this assistance is of great importance not only because it will provide the necessary equipment to our health system, but as it also shows that Montenegro is not alone, and that our international partners and friends are with us. Deputy Prime Minister Simović expressed special gratitude to the EU, apart from this urgent donation, for also approving long-term funds for the recovery in the amount of € 50 million, as well as  for accelerating existing programmes of support to the socio-economic sector as well as the labour market worth €18 million,. We very much appreciate the support of the Delegation of the European Union and Ambassador Orav in developing these support programs.”

Deputy Prime Minister Simović expressed his sincere gratitude to the UNDP Country Office in Montenegro for ensuring implementation of EU funds. This will be substantial support to the health system in the coming weeks. Finally, he expressed his belief that „the partners from the EU and the UN, as well as other international stakeholders, will support Montenegro in facing the upcoming challenges, through recovery and mitigation of the impact of this global crisis, primarily in socio-economic aspects.