Work of the UN System on the MDGs in Montenegro

Art work created in July 2010 in Bijelo Polje, Montenegro. During the Art Colony, organized by the UN System in Montenegro, around 40 artists from Europe depicted and sculpted the pain of poverty.

In collaboration with the UN System in Montenegro, the country committed to implement the eight Millennium Development Goals and to monitor their implementation on an annual level. In order to honour these commitments the Government of Montenegro adopted in 2010 the Medium Term Report on the Millennium Development Goals in Montenegro as a basic document that defined targets within the Goals in line with national circumstances and prioritites. This has become a basis for annual monitoring of the implementation. So far, the Government adopted two Annual Reports on the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals which provided background information and presented the status in the implementation of the eight Goals, as well as recommendations for facing the challenges in their implementation.

Findings of The First Annual Report showed that Montenegro had already implemented the Goal 5 and that it will implement the Goals 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 very soon, but that there are still some areas where it is unlikely that the agreed targets will be met within the envisaged deadline.

With a view to implementing the targets defined in the Medium Term Report, adopting the First Annual Report in its meeting on 22 December 2011, the Government went one step beyond and gave tasks to its line bodies to "prepare the recommendations for overcoming the problems in the implementation of the Goals from within their competencies".  In that way Montenegro reiterated its willingness to fulfil in a systematic way the commitments undertaken according to international agreements, initiatives and declarations.

The second Annual report for 2012 concludes that most of the Goals have been met to the largest extent, so there is a realistic opportunity that the majority of Goals will be met by the end of 2015. Most significant challenges in the implementation of the defined Goals and targets have been identified in the Goals 1 (poverty), 3 (gender equality) and 7 (sustainability of environment).

Key change in relation to the first annual report is the categorisation of the Goal 1 as the area where there are significant challenges that will prevent the achievement of the Goal within the envisaged deadline (last year's Report contains the assessment that in spite of significant challenges, particularly in relation to the reduction of regional differences, poverty rate in rural areas and the reduction of unemployment rate, this Goal will be achieved by 2015).

Considering how important the topics contained in these three challenges are for the future development of Montenegro, in the period to come a bulk of efforts should be focused on meeting the challenges that hinder the implementation of other goals. The fact is that the key challenges for achieving the Goals 1 and 3 are basically a negative consequence of the economic and financial crisis, the effects of which cause most serious problems on the global level. Along with the economic crisis that had its impact on the economic trends in the state, a significant role in the achievement of the Goals belongs to the social and cultural exclusion, low level of awareness of the society about certain issues, stigma and discrimination. These challenges and problems had its impact on the degree of implementation of the majority of the Goals, particularly Goals 2, 4, 6 and 7.

One of the challenges that also hinder the achievement of the Goals lies in the lack of capacities, both in terms of premises and in terms of staff. This challenge had certain impact on some of the indicators for the Goals 2 and 7.

Another challenge and problem in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals lies in inappropriate and incomplete statistics. Key problems in that context are the following:

a)      Absence of the records which would register data relevant for the Goal 5 and certain indicators relevant for the Goals 4 and 6. According to the Law on Registers, due to the changes in the process of data registration, since 2010 there has been no measurements needed for these Goals/indicators. As a UN member Montenegro has undertaken to monitor progress in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and to prepare annual reports on the progress. Therefore, the absence of measurements/data is a serious problem in this process.

b)      Underdeveloped methodologies for monitoring of certain indicators, like in the case of the indicator of energy intensity in the overall consumption within the Goal 7,

c)      Lack of competences/obligation to monitor certain indicators, where the key challenge is monitoring of the degree of anthropogenic impact on the quality of surface waters within the Goal 7.

In the future period it will be necessary to make the given recommendations more specific and to strengthen the work on their implementation. The implementation of the Goals should be linked more strongly to the process and requirements of European integration and capacity building that will be a part of it. On top of that, drafting of the next report should take into account the work on the definition of the UN development agenda for the period after 2015, as well as the conclusions of the newly established group for the preparation of the Sustainable Development Goals.