Three ministers, five deputy ministers and heads of the UN family in Montenegro met on the occasion of the first Joint Country Steering Committee meeting this year to discuss joint work under the Delivering as One umbrella (DAO), major results from 2012 and plans for 2013.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, Igor Lukšić and the UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, Rastislav Vrbensky opened the meeting stating the importance of a coherent, effective and coordinated work of the UN and the Government, which started three year ago when Montenegro voluntarily adopted Delivering as One model promising to deliver higher and more strategic results in the period 2010-2016.
The participants reviewed strategic results of the Integrated UN Programme in its three pillars: social inclusion, democratic governance, sustainable economic development and environmental protection.
Few important outcomes of UN development cooperation with the Government and UN policy engagement include: finding durable solutions for displaced persons from neighbouring countries with focus on Sarajevo Process, addressing challenges of people with disabilities, both children and adults, improved health system governance and child protection systems, strengthening mental health system, stimulation of sustainable economic growth in the North of Montenegro, work on migration, response to climate change and disaster risk reduction, promotion as well as support political participation and economic empowerment of women.
“Concrete and measurable results achieved jointly by the UN and the Government in the last three years represent a good basis for the continued implementation of the Integrated UN Program in the future”, said Lukšić reminding that the programme fully corresponds to national key priorities, primarily EU accession.
“EU accession priorities frame our support to Montenegro”, said UN Resident Coordinator Vrbensky. He reflected key positive steps of Montenegro in 2012 – especially start of EU accession negotiations, membership in UN Human Rights Council and in the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Vrbensky underlined that Delivering as One model of work “leads to higher level of strategic results as we pool agency and ministry specific resources for joint and more coherent work. As recognised by the UN Secretary General during his historic visit in 2012, Montenegro is a country of excellence when it comes to implementation of this model of work”, stated Vrbensky and commended the Government for its consistent commitment to DaO.
The Steering Committee adopted UN Annual Work Plan for 2013, which encompasses the overall work of the UN in the country with an emphasis on priorities identified in the EU integration process, such as: social welfare reform; inclusion of marginalised groups; gender equality and gender-based violence; child protection systems; support for health care reform; durable solutions for displaced persons; asylum system and prevention of statelessness; judicial reform; demilitarization and arms control; and a number of projects in areas of sustainable development and environment.
The total planned budget for the implementation of the 2013 Work Plan is more than 16 million USD, out of which 11 million USD have been already secured. “Doing more with less is apparently the way of work in the future”, said Lukšić, emphasizing importance of both financial and human resources and the fact that donor coordination needs to be more enhanced in the future to better utilise available funds.
Lukšić and Vrbensky presented an initiative for establishing a Regional Centre for Sustainable Development in Montenegro, while both UN and Government representatives agreed that finalisation of the UN Eco-building this year is of the utmost priority.