Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ivan Mrkic Speeches
Monday, 13 October 2014. PDF Print E-mail
Dacic at the Concluding Meeting of the Strategic Consultations between the Serbia and the UN 2016-2020
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Dacic at the UNDAF Concluding Meeting Statement By H. E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister OF Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, at the Concluding Meeting of the Strategic Consultations between the Government of Serbia and the United Nations:

"Distinguished UN Resident Coordinator, Mrs. Vojackova-Sollorano,
Your Excellencies,
Representatives of the civil society,
Dear friends,

We find ourselves at the beginning of a process in which the Government of Serbia, the relevant line Ministries, the UN Country Team and UN agencies, in consultation of the donors and the non-governmental sector, are working together to conclude a new five-year United Nations Development Assistance Framework and Partnership with the Republic of Serbia (UNDAF) 2016-2020. This strategic development partnership between the UN system and Serbia will be implemented at a time extremely important for Serbia, a period of intensified negotiations with the EU on membership. The assistance for development provided by UN agencies is greatly important also for the European integration process of Serbia, but UN assistance for development also has a broader dimension. UN agencies, of which more than two dozen are active in Serbia, by using their comparative advantage and vast know-how and expertise, can provide invaluable assistance in all areas and at all stages of economic and social development of a country.
It is extremely important that the European integration process and UN development assistance are well coordinated and synchronized. In the talks with UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, who visited Belgrade last July, before the Donors' Conference organized following the disastrous floods which hit Serbia, particular attention was paid to the ways and means in which the United Nations can assist on our European path. On that occasion, UN assistance in the effective use and mobilization of funds pledged to Serbia has been identified as one such opportunity.
Last week, the first part of the preparations for the signing of the new UNDAF has been completed within the two-day strategic consultations conducted between the UN Country Team and the relevant line ministries of the Government of Serbia. Five key areas have been defined as the point of departure in the development of UNDAF, namely human rights, good governance and rule of law, social and human resources development including promotion of health, education and social welfare, economic development, growth and jobs, environment, climate change and renewable energy sources as well as culture, media and civil society. UN experts, together with experts from the line ministries and offices of the Government of Serbia have made an effort, through an interactive and intensive dialogue, to define indicators and possible outcomes of partnership with the UN over the next five-year period.
At the start of the strategic consultations, Mrs. Kori Udovicki, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Government Administration and the Local Self-Government, outlined the development priorities of the Government of Serbia in the coming period, priorities which Prime Minister Vucic had presented in his keynote report when the new Government came into office. Those development priorities should constitute the basis for the Partnership Framework between the UN and Serbia. It is of an exceptional importance to make the outcomes and results of the programme of development assistance and partnership realistic, easily measurable, consistent and concrete.
In the preparations for the adoption of the new UNDAF, the Government of Serbia and the UN Country Team are already holding consultations on the Common Country Assessment (CCA). It is evident from the very first draft that the country already faces serious challenges and difficulties. This year ,Serbia has achieved only 65% of its GDP recorded in 1989. Despite the initial success with the implementation of Millennium Development Goals when poverty rate was halved, following the onset of the global economic and financial crisis in late 2008, there was a steep rise in unemployment and gradual increase in the poverty rate. The priority accorded by the Government is to create prerequisites and conditions for an intensive economic growth and jobs creation, especially of youth, fiscal consolidation, restructuring of public companies, downsizing and greater efficiency of public administration and promotion of social care, education and health care. The country is faced with the problem of low birthrate, aging of the population and growing emigration. There is one worker per every retiree. This ratio was one retiree per every four workers forty years ago. In all other areas, the assistance and expertise of the UN system and its agencies will be very important and precious. In the national consultations conducted by the Office of the UN Residence Coordinator in Serbia entitled "Serbia I want" where more than a quarter of a million of people have been polled, the majority of them were in favour of poverty reduction and improved standard of living, creation of new jobs, good governance and responsible institution building, better health and education services and a friendlier environment. These wishes voiced by the population must serve as the main guidelines in our further joint efforts.
In the course of the current year, Serbia suffered from devastating flooding which resulted in a loss of life and huge damage to infrastructure, energy and production facilities and agriculture. Our region has become another victim of climate change which, unless held under check, will pose a serious challenge to the future generations. The UN Country Team was among the first to lend a desperately needed helping hand, for which we express once again our deep gratitude.
The assistance provided by UN agencies with the aim to achieve better preparedness to confront natural disasters will be of crucial importance and the environment chapter will be among the more difficult ones in our accession negotiations with the EU. In this context as well, the assistance of the UN agencies, such as UNDP, UNEP and FAO, in the settlement and elimination of accumulated problems in the field of environmental protection will be extremely important.
In the last year, Serbia actively participated at UN fora in New York devoted to the formulation of the Global Development Agenda 2015 – 2030. Serbia was an active member of the Open-Ended Group on the definition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Committee on Sustainable Development Financing. Global Development Goals aimed at poverty eradication; reduction of inequalities; promotion of sustainable and inclusive economic growth and full employment; efforts against climate change; universal quality education and health for all, are, without doubt, our priorities. We wish to work together in partnership with the United Nations on their full implementation. As a member of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) Serbia has already made an active contribution to a global debate on sustainable development in all its aspects. In this context, work will be undertaken in the future to map out a new National Sustainable Development Strategy which will be worked out in partnership with the UN Country Team. As a potential future EU Member State, Serbia will take part in the development assistance provided by the European Union to developing countries where we will also require the assistance, expertise and support of the UN system.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is envisaged that the new Partnership Framework Programme between the UN and Serbia will be signed in the early spring of 2015. It will be signed by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mrs. Vojackova-Sollorano and myself. The five-year period of its implementation is not long, but it is sufficient to do a lot of work. It is important that the programme be realistically conceived, clear, measurable and action-oriented, to which all governmental departments will make their concrete contribution. The UN system has the expertise and competence, but it is very important to ensure the assistance and support of the donors, and the implementation is dependant on them. I call on all donors to support the new UNDAF with Serbia.

Thank you."

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