SG Trip


UN Secretary-General looks to the future during his first visit to Montenegro


24 July 2012

Six years after Montenegro joined United Nations the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon landed in Montenegro for the first time, as a part of his regional tour of the former Yugoslav countries.

Having emphasized earlier that his visit is focused on the future, the Secretary-General said that  Montenegro is currently on a bright path - or - what is to come for Montenegro is full of promise, as demonstrated by the EU decision to open accession negotiations, only six years since obtaining independence. “The region has suffered great trials and trauma. But the focus of my journey is not on the past - even though we must acknowledge it - but on the future”, he stated at the joint press conference with President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović.

The President assured his guest that Montenegro would remain fully committed to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. “For the last six years of membership in the UN, Montenegro proved to be a reliable partner and a member, and it will continue in that direction,” said President Vujanović.

Secretary-General congratulated Montenegro on the opening of EU accession negotiations. He said that “the decision by the European Union Council to open accession negotiations illustrates Montenegro’s progress towards greater stability and prosperity in the six years of independence.”The Secretary-General also met with the Speaker of the Parliament, Ranko Krivokapić, the Prime Minister Igor Lukšić, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nebojša Kaluđerović.

In addition, he pledged that the United Nations would continue to support Montenegro in the process. “The United Nations will remain your partner in addressing key priorities during the accession process, especially in our main areas of expertise - human rights, durable solutions for refugees and sustainable development. We will continue to support the Government’s work to assist the most vulnerable - women, the rural poor, people with disabilities - especially children - the Roma, and children deprived of parental care,” stated Secretary-General. He also praised the country for setting a strong example as a middle-income country and applauded the joint work of the Government and the UN on the Delivering as One framework.

As part of his two-day tour, the Secretary-General visited the construction site of the future UN Eco-Building in Podgorica, hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nebojša Kaluđerović.

“This new UN Eco Building will reflect two United Nations priorities. First, it will be energy-efficient, carbon-neutral and sustainable. Second, it will provide common premises for all five UN organizations operating in Montenegro so they can truly deliver as one. I thank the Government of Montenegro for its significant financial support in realizing this project,” he said. The UN Secretary-General also expressed his gratitude to the Municipality of Podgorica for allocating the land on the bank of the Morača river, as well as to the Austrian Development Agency for funding the architectural competition for the building design and for providing photovoltaic panels.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nebojša Kaluđerović, pointed out that the corner-stone of the building was laid by the UNDG Chair Helen Clark, and he expressed expectations that the UN family will be able to work even more efficiently once they move into the joint premises.

The Secretary-General also paid visits to the Old Royal Capital Cetinje and the old coastal town of Kotor, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Moreover, in order to experience Montenegro’s natural beauty to the fullest, the Secretary-General took a scenic helicopter tour of the Montenegrin coast and mountain Lovćen.

In the capital Podgorica, the Secretary-General met with the UN Country Team and also with all UN staff in Montenegro. He encouraged UN employees to keep working hard on making positive changes in Montenegrin society. “Working for the UN is a privilege and an obligation. All UN staff should be proud of being a member of large UN family. The UN staff should lead by example, as all UN employees should be recognized in their communities as individuals capable to be the driving force of changes,” said the Secretary-General. He also reiterated the five priorities of his second term: sustainability (political, economic, social and environmental), promotion of tolerance, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, peace keeping and, particularly, women and youth empowerment.

During the visit of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Montenegro, his wife Mrs. Ban Soon-teak joined UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks and prominent young Paralympic athletes Marijana Goranovic and Ilija Tadic, in launching the new ‘’It’s About Ability’’ campaign TV commercial to highlight the potential of children with disability.

Prior to Montenegro, the UN Secretary-General visited Slovenia and Croatia. He continued his tour by visiting Serbia, and afterwards Kosovo and Macedonia.  The regional visit of the UN Secretary-General is to be concluded by his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.