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Step further in joint addressing key national priorities

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A Joint Country Steering Committee, which monitors implementation of the Integrated UN Programme 2010-2016, discussed major achievements in 2011 and adopted the 2012 UN Annual Work Plan at its first meeting in 2012. The session of the Committee, which comprises eight ministers and heads of UN agencies in Montenegro, was co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, Milan Roćen and the UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, Rastislav Vrbensky.

Programme Pillars for Social Inclusion, Democratic Governance and Sustainable Economic Development and Environmental Protection presented concrete and measurable results achieved jointly by the UN and the Government in 2011.

The presentation of concrete results instigated the highest appraisal for efficiency of the joint work by members of the Steering Committee. Rocen highlighted the importance of cooperation with the UN System and expressed concrete expectations for the future.

“Impressive results clearly show that UN’s support is invaluable for us, and is becoming more and more important each day. I am sure there is plenty of space for even greater collaboration. We particularly look forward to further support in specific chapters of EU negotiations, given UN’s expert and technical comparative advantages in required fields”, said Minister Roćen, reminding that the Integrated UN Programme fully corresponds to national key priorities, primarily EU accession.

The UN Resident Coordinator Rastislav Vrbensky also referred to excellent cooperation with the line ministries and national institutions, and reminded that the Programme’s Phase I, implemented in 2010 and 2011, led to concrete results in the areas of human rights, access to justice, health, judicial reform, green economy and institution building.

“The Delivering as One approach led to higher level of strategic results as UN family and the Government pooled agency and ministry specific resources for joint and more coherent and coordinated work. We achieved concrete and measurable results, but also faced a number of challenges and we are learning from our experience thus far”, stated Vrbensky and commended the Government for its consistent commitment to the Delivering as One conceptin the context of the UN Reform Process.

In the spirit of transparency, the UN Resident Coordinator informed the Government of highlights of the 2011 annual report of the Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team. He particularly pointed out at restructuringin management of different working groups, strengthening of joint communications, establishing monitoring and evaluation task force, plans to move to the UN Eco building by the end of the year, upgraded capacities of UN coordination unit and agencies commitment to increased cost sharing in 2012.

Ever since the Integrated UN Programme was signed in 2010 as a comprehensive framework of the joint work for the period until 2016, resource mobilisation is an important component of this joint work. The Steering Committee paid particular attention to funding gaps identified in the 2012 UN Annual Work Plan and funding challenges in the time of global economic crisis.

“There is a clear need for enhancing and intensifying our joint resource mobilisation efforts for the Country Fund, thus for filling the gaps in the UN Annual Work Plan”, said UN Resident Coordinator Rastislav Vrbensky highlighting that the financial situation is becoming more and more difficult, due to the economic crisis. “We need to be more innovative, we have to work better together, or, as the UN Secretary General recommended – We need to do more with less! That is why we are constantly looking into possible new initiatives in specific areas, such as: economic empowerment and social services for I/DPs and domicile Roma, gender equality, disability, disaster risk management, youth and employment, prevention and control of non-communicable diseases”, added Vrbensky.

Members of Steering Committee exchanged ideas and suggestions for broadening future cooperation, as well as for addressing better some of the current challenges, such as statelessness, treating of non-communicable and chronicle diseases, pharmacy, improving statistics in order to be better equipped for resource mobilisation and so on.

“It is very important that we jointly identify problems and it is of particular value that there is a strong willingness from both sides to resolve identified problems”, said Minister Roćen, adding that the Integrated UN Programme is a result of a high quality planning process and first-rate mapping process of national priorities.

“The Integrated UN Programme is obviously not only increasing our coherence, but serves as an instrument for improvement of overall development coordination”, said Mina Brajovic, head of the WHO Country Office.

The UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks added that presented accomplishments show that the UN’s support was fully embedded in Montenegro’s EU integration agenda. “It is also a testimony of the commitment of the Government to undertake serious reforms in the areas of social inclusion, democratic governance and sustainable economic development and environmental protection”, said Perks and expressed optimism that the coordination will be accelerated further.

Minister Rocen concluded the session by reiterating Government’s full commitment to further support the Delivering as One process. “Although we are carrying out a pioneer work, it seems like we really managed to design great formula of cooperation. Even if this cooperation was not named Delivering as One, we would definitely name it so”, said Roćen.

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The Integrated UN Programme is a comprehensive framework of UN programmes and projects for the period of 2010 – 2016 aimed at addressing some of key national priorities and increasing a coherence and efficiency of the UN System in Montenegro as well as its developmental impact. The programme, jointly developed and adopted by the Government and the UN System, in April 2010, articulates the Delivering as One concept through providing a strategic framework for joint programmes and projects of all Participating UN Organisations operating in Montenegro, five resident and seven regionally-based organisations.

The Programme has three strategic programme pillars: 1) Social Inclusion, 2) Democratic Governance and 3) Sustainable Economic Development & Environmental Protection.

The Joint Country Steering Committee provides overall oversight of the process of design, implementation and monitoring of the Integrated UN Programme, Results and Budgetary Framework for Montenegro.