The bridge in Mitrovica, connecting the north and south banks of the Ibar River is as symbolic as it is functional. Linking the town’s Serb-dominated north and largely Albanian populated south, it is also representative of the relations here. In 2014, after three years’ large piles of concrete and gravel were removed from the bridge which had been placed there in protest of a police move to oversee control of the city. Hailed as a step forward, it was only hours later that local Serbs placed potted trees on the bridge, once again blocking traffic. This so-called Peace Park was removed in the summer of 2015 when renovations on the bridge began. However, tensions reignited in December of 2016 when a wall was built to prevent landslides. Today, the bridge is almost exclusively crossed for business purposes and remains guarded by the KFOR.
ICO supports the cooperation between South and North Mitrovica and aims to achieve greater social cohesion and peace impact in the longer term, in accordance with the Brussels Agreement. As a result of local aspirations, ICO seeks to fund large infrastructure projects through which local stakeholders from both North and South Mitrovica will agree on the ownership of the land and projects, and run the businesses together in Mitrovica.
Projects that are under review are:
- Water treatment plant
- Revitalization of the river banks
- Collector for waste water
- Central heating system
- Revitalization of parks
- Revitalization of touristic places and attractions in North and South Mitrovica
- Economic development projects and employment support
- Innovative center for youth