People without dreams

13 Jul 2012

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The documentary film “People without dreams”, a chronology of the plight of families and whole communities in south Serbia, premiered today at the Belgrade Media Centre before an prestigious panel and audience. Filmed at the end of 2011–early 2012, a production of the Belgrade Media Centre and the United Nations (UN) Peace Building and Inclusive Local Development programme (PBILD), with generous support of the Swiss Government, People Without Dreams examined pertinent questions such as:

Why are whole municipalities in south Serbia disappearing? Why are the youth of Pcinja and Jablanica districts leaving their homes and where do they go? How to prevent the trend of migration from the south Serbia? These questions were then addressed by a panel who sought o identify solutions which the in-coming government could use as a basis for a dedicated regional economic development policy for Serbia’s poorest region.

The panellists included the Swiss Ambassador, H.E. Erwin Hofer; Ms. Jorgovanka Tabakovic, Deputy President of the Serbian Progressive Party; Mr. Zoran Antic, Mayor of Vranje; Mr. Nagip Arifi, Mayor of Bujanovac; Mr. Aleksandar Stevanovic, economic analyst; Ms. Ofelija Backovic-Sami, Media Centre Director; Ms. Zymryte Halimi, student of the Faculty of Economics in Bujanovac, and Mr. Nicholas Hercules, PBILD Programme Manager. The panel was moderated by Ms. Antonela Riha, the Radio and Television of Serbia journalist.

The panelists agreed that the socio-economic situation in south Serbia is particularly bad and needs to be addressed at local and state level. Mr. Arifi, Mayor of Bujanovac, emphasized that Bujanovac has created a Development Programme 2007-2013, but that additional government support is needed for its implementation. Vranje Mayor, Mr. Antic, said that the main problems of the municipality are the old giant state-owned enterprises “Yumko” and “Kostana”, but that the municipality also intends to support the small entrepreneurs and the agriculture, and reiterated that there is a need for the government’s support.

Ms. Jorgovanka Tabakovic stated that the problems of Bujanovac and Trgoviste are the same as the problems of Plandiste in Vojvodina, which is considered as a developed region, and that economic measures for the development of the south Serbia are already stipulated in the programme of the new government.

Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Hofer, was of the opinion that state subsidies should not be the basis for the development of underdeveloped regions, but that a boost to the economy should be initiated locally through grass roots projects embedded in the local communities. “The role of the state is to ensure a stable and favourable environment for the realisation of the projects”, said Hofer.

Among the participants to the event were H.E. Mary Warlick, Ambassador of the USA, Mr. William Infante, UN Resident Co-ordinator in Serbia, three members of the Serbian Parliament, Assistant Ministers and senior civil servants of the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development and Local  Self Government, Mayors and key advisors of the south Serbia municipalities, representatives of the OSCE and EU delegation in Serbia, the Faculty of Economics of Novi Sad Bujanovac Campus, civil society organizations’ representatives, media and many significant other policy makers.

Besides “People without dreams”, there are two more films on the topic of migration, unemployment and the problem of asylum seekers – “Should I stay, or should I go?” and “Triangle”, that were produced with PBILD support and which will be shown to the public next autumn.