UN team in the country organized a ceremony to gather partners, friends and colleagues to mark the end of one cooperation cycle and beginning of a new one.
Dear partners, dear colleagues, dear friends
I would kindly like to ask for a couple of minutes of your attention. This is not going to be usual speech. It’s rather a very sincere and honest THANK YOU session, to all of you in the room here tonight. A thank you for your hard work and fruitful collaboration throughout these last six 6 years of implementation of our UNDAF. Thank you for the journey that started on 1 January 2017, which sometimes has been a roller coaster, with COVID turning the world upside down, war in Ukraine, and many other unforeseen things.
But you all stood strong and pushed on, so thank you for handling challenging times so well together.
We are now half-way towards 2030 and with eight years left, we are to collectively show that we can succeed in achieving the transformational results which are so much needed. We still have to change and adapt our economies, speed up the energy transition, invest in climate and social developments for a Sustainable tomorrow.
During these last six years, all of you - our Government partners, civil society partners, business partners and all my dear UN colleagues - have been working diligently on paving brick by brick to that path of getting Montenegro closer to SDGs, so thank you for that team work.
And yes, there are MANY pieces of bricks that you have jointly laid over these years, so please allow me to just single out a few good examples among so many…
Together with national partners, UNICEF supported Montenegro in advancing social and child protection system and reducing child poverty and vulnerability, including introduction of universal child benefits expecting to decrease child poverty rate by 6.7 percentage; expanding family support services and diversifying foster care which led to the decrease of the number of children in institutional care by half, between 2010 and 2021 and ended institutionalization of children under the age of three.
UNICEF together with partners helped increasing enrolment in preschool education including doubling enrolment of Roma children in preschools, reaching almost two thirds of Montenegrin young people to support them in dealing with socio-economic challenges and building entrepreneurial skills, they revitalized the work of the Baby friendly hospitals, as well as introduction of the child-friendly standards and spaces in Montenegro’s judiciary.
This year, our sister agency UNCHR marked 3 decades of working shoulder to shoulder with Montenegro to support refugees, asylum seekers, those at risk of statelessness and many others. In cooperation with their partners on the UNDAF implementation UNHCR truly made a difference. Some of these achievements include – Adoption of Statelessness Determination Procedures. Establishment of birth registration procedures for children born outside of the health care centres. Implementation of the Regional Housing Programme for 681 Ex-Yugoslav refugee families. This led to closure of all collective refugee settlements in the country, including the closure of the Konik Camp in 2018.
Our sister agency UNDP worked with national actors to support Montenegro on many fronts including legal, policy and strategic frameworks, supporting central and local government, private sector and CSOs.
In the area of Environment and Climate Change, UNDP in partnership with the government has played a key role in tackling environmental and climate issues, UNDP supported Government in reaching critical milestones in setting more ambitious targets related to GHG emissions, strengthened capacities for monitoring and reporting to the UN Framework Convention for climate change, supported progress in EU accession by setting the climate change legal framework in line with EU directives. Moreover, they helped with safe disposal of 1060 tons of hazardous waste from Montenegro and developed the Roadmap for Circular Economy.
UNDP worked on accelerating progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women, aiming to move beyond fragmentary efforts and to instead help the country to shift power structures and the economic, social, and political systems that perpetuate gender-based discrimination. In the area of Social Protection, system capacities have been improved in terms of outreach, quality and better targeting of beneficiaries. The Social Card Information System developed by UNDP has been used for many years now for evidence-based social policy making, reporting, and modelling social protection solutions.
UNDP also provided substantial support in the area of Public Administration helping development of new electronic services.
Our sister agency IOM stepped up to help the county in addressing trafficking in human beings, return, readmission, reintegration, border management and prevention of violent extremism as well as direct assistance to migrants and support to the country in managing migration flows.
The health sector has seen important support by the World Health Organisation in the course of these last six years, including strengthening national capacities to prevent, detect and respond to public health risks and public health emergencies; full accreditation of laboratories, help development of the Mental health strategy, introduce the HPV vaccine, screening valuable data on childhood obesity to inform measures and actions to address key drivers of obesity epidemic among children, and much more.
UNOPS with partners contributed by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Government support for development of small businesses, increasing employment opportunities, supporting social cohesion, developing local infrastructure and improving the innovation ecosystem.
UNIDO worked with partners on advancing economic competitiveness by linking entrepreneurs into ‘integrated clusters’ and subsequently creating a collective brand and a web platform to promote market access among Montenegro’s typical products and improve the visibility of Montenegro as an attractive tourist destination.
Collectively, the UN family supported the country during Covid -19 pandemic, through the support of health care system and procurement of vaccines and equipment, support to education and social protection systems and much more.
This was merely a quick scan of some key results during these past six years, you have all made this possible, by doing so you brought Montenegro closer to Agenda 2030, and I Thank you for that.
As we now close the UNDAF, we are about to embark on yet another 5-year journey into the future with the new Cooperation Framework, where we will continue to address ongoing and future key challenges for Montenegro. I thank you for the enormous joint work in developing the new Cooperation Framework, a strategic document anchored in Montenegro’s national and international priorities including the most critical one – your accession to the European Union.
On this final note, I once more thank you all and wish you a happy ending of this year and look forward working with you all on this next chapter. I would now like invite you all to raise a toast for our continued and successful journey ahead. Cheers!