UN system in Montenegro has been a strong ally to the Government in both immediate and long-term response.
Dear Minister Radulović, Dear members of the Steering Committee, Dear Colleagues from the UN Country Team and Friends,
On behalf of the UN Family in Montenegro, let me first thank you for hosting us today. We meet at a very opportune time, when we are about to head off to an exciting adventure of designing the new Framework for Cooperation for the period from 2023 to 2027. Yet, before onboarding to that journey, it is essential that we acknowledge what we have jointly achieved in the year behind us.
And the year has been challenging on many fronts- not only did Montenegro experience political turmoil and change of Government for the first time in 30 years, but all of this happened in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic which hit Montenegro badly, risking to undermine progress which has been achieved in the area of sustainable development. While the crisis revealed and exacerbated already existing weaknesses, it led us to think out of the box, and look for solutions to recover better through working in even more flexible, efficient, and synergetic manner.
UN system in Montenegro has been a strong ally to the Government in both immediate and long-term response. By December 2020 the UN in Montenegro spent 7.64 mn USD (5,96m of new funding and 1,67m of re-programmed) to support the COVID-19 response by means of evidence collection and analysis, procurement of medical equipment, advocacy, and ongoing programmatic work adjusted to the new reality.
Speaking of funds, it is also worthwhile noting that by the end of 2020, as much as 92, 5% of the UNDAF funding plan was delivered. With 22 mn already available for operations in 2021, it is to expect that UNDAF financing promise will not only be reached but even exceeded by around 30 percent. On top of that, the evaluation we conducted last year concluded that UNDAF throughout its implementation remained relevant, well-aligned with national priorities, responsive and flexible to emerging priorities and challenges while offering an effective platform for development coordination that relies on technical expertise, impartiality and neutrality. All of this would not have been possible without strong bonds and shared values of partnership.
It is this partnership which lies in the foundation of the process of development of the new Cooperation Framework that we have onboarded. Hereby I would like to express my true appreciation for delegating staff from different ministries and institutions to four different results groups and nominating co-chairs thereof, thus showing commitment. Their role is very important, not only in the current UNDAF implementation and monitoring, but also in the process of the new Cooperation Framework, since they are the ones who represent the Government of Montenegro in this important task, and we are grateful for that.
The groups have already had their first meeting last week, marking the beginning of what we call Technical consultations. And here I want to emphasize that, while the launching of the new CF has been postponed for 2023, the process itself needs to continue at the agreed place and we must not allow for further delays. September and October will be focused on developing Results Framework, to be endorsed at the Strategic Prioritization Retreat in the first week of November. It is of essential importance that Joint Steering Committee members give their full back up to this process and ensure their delegated representatives have enough time and technical support to engage fully in the process.
In going forward, our priorities remain the same – to support the human rights and sustainable development of Montenegro. We have achieved a lot together, and I hope the path of excellent cooperation will continue in the future to both increase chances of Montenegro becoming part of the European Union, but also to succeed with the overall impact of the Agenda 2030, as we have only nine years to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.