A two-day meeting of the Sustainable Economic Development Environmental Protection (SEDEP) Pillar saw a comprehensive analysis of accomplishments and upcoming priorities in joint projects and programmes within the framework of the Integrated UN Programme 2010 – 2016. Both short and long term programmatic plans were on the agenda, including joint projects in the areas of green jobs, protected area management, energy efficiency, tourism, cleaner production, climate change and disaster risk reduction.
Particular attention was dedicated to the budgetary requirements – cost sharing, funding allocations and gaps, and future resource mobilization for recognized priorities in the second phase of the Integrated UN Programme covering the period 2012-2016.
Milica Begović Radojević, the Convener of SEDEP Pillar working group, stressed that “Delivering as One” concept should enable a more efficient drawing of all available resources of the UN system toward meeting the most pressing national needs. “It is a process that seeks to reduce transaction costs and increase available expertise and funding. In less than one year, we demonstrated this. First, building on the joint work of five UN agencies (FAO, UNIDO, UNEP, UNESCO, FAO) in creating green jobs in the Durmitor area, the Government entrusted the UN with developing the National Strategy for Sustainable Economic Growth through Introduction of Clusters by 2016, and provided €416,800 to match the UN’s already invested $350,000 and the newly allocated $110,250 from the Expanded Funding Window. Second, the Government recognized the comparative advantage of the UN in enhancing its capacities in reducing risk to various disasters, and expressed a desire to continue its collaboration with the UN system in this area. This raises the bar for the future in which we must continue to provide innovative, cutting edge expertise to Montenegro on its route to the EU membership and fulfillment of the MDG goals”, she said.
Through a series of meetings focused on particular focus areas within the Pillar, Governmental counterparts presented priorities for 2012, while UN representatives updated on all relevant programmatic aspects. Both sides reiterated commitment to follow the track paved at the last meeting of the Joint Country Steering Committee, which is in charge of monitoring of implementation of the Integrated UN Programme.
“It’s obvious that we are on a good track to achieve the priorities set at the last meeting of the Joint Country Steering Committee. Our teamwork clearly leads to concrete results, but without the committed individuals, it would not be possible”, said Andro Drecun, deputy Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism and a co-convener of the SEDEP Pillar.
Emphasizing that Montenegro is marking the 20th anniversary of being an ecologic state, Drecun stressed the importance of UN support in strengthening pivotal state capacities for strategic dealing with economy and environment issues. “I would particularly highlight the importance of UN support in two joint initiatives – developing Business Clusters Strategy and strengthening national and local capacities in reducing the risk of disasters, with the specific focus on the floods”, he said and emphasized the significance of regular Pillar meetings for further strengthening of Delivering as one. “The Pillar meetings show that together we can find a way of dealing with complex issues and that we can resolve anything”, Drecun concluded.
Representatives of regionally based UN agencies who are actively involved in all activities of the SEDEP Pillar provided concrete ideas and constructive suggestions for joint projects/programmes, based on the experience from other countries in the region. “At the end, we all come to the common point – trying to reach the most efficient way to meet national priorities. Obviously, the model of joint acting of the UN System and government proves to be highly efficient in this regard”, said Mahir Aliyev, regional coordinator from UNEP.
“Protected Area Management and public participation processes in managing designation sites are of particular value for UNESCO, and I am glad to learn that it has been mutually recognized as a priority for the upcoming period. I am confident that, together with other UN agencies, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and Ministry of Economy, the green jobs initiative can result in multiplied benefits for Montenegrin citizens”, said Ana Katnić, UNESCO national professional officer in Montenegro.
Members of the Pillar agreed on priority list of joint programmes and projects for future resource mobilization efforts and a SEDEP Pillar Annual Work Plan for 2012. After agreeing on a schedule of SEDEP Pillar meetings in 2012, an interactive two-day convention concluded in an optimistic atmosphere regarding the implementation of the second phase of the Integrated UN Programme.