Official visit of Ms. Cihan Sultanoğlu, UNDP Regional Director for Europe and the CIS to MontenegroMay 8, 2013
The first official visit of Ms. Cihan Sultanoğlu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of UNDP and UNDP Regional Director for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), to Montenegro reconfirmed the excellent partnership the UN and more specifically UNDP enjoys with the Government of Montenegro.
The focus of Ms. Sultanoğlu’s discussions with the highest representatives of the Montenegrin Government was on current cooperation and future aspects of UNDP’s long-term strategic partnership with the Government of Montenegro in the country. She also discussed with the Government of Montenegro the future establishment of the Sustainable Development Centre.
Ms. Sultanoğlu met with Mr. Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro; Mr. Igor Lukšić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration; and Mr. Branimir Gvozdenović, Minister of Sustainable development and tourism. She also met with the Heads of resident UN Agencies and representatives of the EU Delegation in Montenegro and other bilateral and multilateral partners. In addition, she visited the Municipalities of Mojkovac and Cetinje, as well as the UN Eco-building construction site in Podgorica.
The focus of Ms. Sultanoğlu’s discussions with Prime Minister Đukanović and Deputy Prime Minister Lukšić was on UNDP’s long term partnership based on the draft proposal UNDP shared with the Government for its considerations. The feedback from the Government of Montenegro was very positive, acknowledging UNDP’s important role in supporting the country’s EU accession process. At the same time, UNDP operations in upper middle income countries like Montenegro and in EU accession context require a different level and type of partnerships and relation with the Government.
Main conclusions of Ms. Sultanoğlu’s consultations with Montenegrin highest officials:
She confirmed that UNDP’s work in Montenegro is strongly aligned with the priorities of EU accession process in the three areas of UNDP focus namely Sustainable Development, Social Inclusion and Democratic Governance.
Sustainable Development – a) supporting the country for a swifter market transformation toward low emissions, resource efficient economy in order to create new green jobs, generate/conserve income, reduce emissions of Green House Gas and dependence on energy import and b) strenghtening the resilience of the ecosystem, economies and communities in a face of various socio-economic and environmental risks
Social Inclusion – a) Social welfare reform – Support the country towards a reformed, sustainable social welfare system with EU norms and standard embedded in services provision with increased ability to facilitate inclusion of excluded or at-risk-of exclusion groups in the society. The focus is on improving the delivery of social services to the most vulnerable; b) Gender - Support to the country in setting up gender agenda aligned with international frameworks (EU & UN) as well as key development priorities of the country on the economic, political and social front; c) HIV Aids prevention
Democratic Governance – a) Public Administration Reform (central and local level) – at the central level, UNDP provides support for implementation of Public Administration Reform Strategy, support the negotiations structures for accession negotiations with the EU and the coordination of development assistance with specific focus on programming, implementation and monitoring of EU assistance, within the framework of the UNDP implemented Capacity Development Programme. At the local level, UNDP provides support towards strategic planning, institutional development including ensuring transparency and accountability and improved monitoring and evaluation framework, project development and inter-municipal cooperation.; b) Security Reform supporting destruction of obsolete ammunition and storage upgrade of ammunition depot through the MONDEM Programme; c) Judicial Reform and Human Rights
Ms Sultanoğlu emphasized that the focus of UNDP work is and will continue to be fully aligned to support the EU accession requirements, building on already ongoing UNDP support linked to negotiation and accession process. She also informed that this focus will also be strongly aligned to the global UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017. Also, given the specificity of UNDP operations in Montenegro within the framework of UN Delivering as One, leveraging further on partnership with and expertise of other UN agencies will be an important priority for UNDP in the future.
The draft proposal which has been shared with the Prime Minister, as well as with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration for their consideration and which contains proposed elements of future strategic partnership with the Government of Montenegro was positively received. Ms. Sultanoğlu emphasized that the draft proposal has been largely informed by a survey UNDP conducted among more than 100 partners the organizations works with (government at both central and local level, non-governmental organizations, media, UN agencies, private sector and development partners/donors, embassies) to better understand its partners perceptions on its current and future contributions, as well as the organization’s value added and future focus.
During the official meetings, UNDP Regional Director also referred to the future establishment of a Sustainable Development Center for Montenegro as being positive development for the country, thereby supporting Montenegro’s ambition to become an exemplary ‘ecological state’. She expressed hope the Centre be established in January 2014 and confirmed UNDP’s support to its establishment.
Ms. Sultanoğlu expressed gratitude to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Government for recent progress in finalizing the main works of the One United Nations Eco Premises, the first of its kind among United Nations Common Premises worldwide.
She also expressed appreciation to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Igor Lukšić for his personal role and leadership in coordinating the work of the National Delivering as One Joint Country Steering Committee, which he chairs together with the UNDP Resident Representative. She expressed hope for continued engagement from the Minister and his Government side over the next years of implementation of the UN Integrated Programme.
Excellent cooperation between UNDP and Mojkovac over a number of years was the main theme discussed with Mr. Dejan Medojević, Mayor of the Municipality of Mojkovac and his team. The results of the cooperation are concrete:
Remediation of the tailing impounds. With the support of the Government of Montenegro and UNDP, Mojkovac - the city known for its environmental problems and the tailing impound that threatened to jeopardize the Tara River (under protection of UNESCO) - became a “nursery” of high quality entrepreneurial initiatives in the field of sustainable tourism, and the municipality has permanently solved the problem of waste water.
The Mayor expressed gratitude for UNDP’s support in making a part of the Tara river canyon an attractive offer to rafting and kayaking enthusiasts.
A new Tourist information center was built in cooperation with the UNDP, in order to further promote the municipal newly established tourism offering.
Support to the Office of the youth and sustainable development through the project “Home help for the elderly” as part of the joint programme of the Government of Montenegro, UNDP and UNICEF “Social Welfare and Child Care Reform – Enhancing Social Inclusion”, financed by the EU. Municipal Chief Administrator Maja Ikervari pointed out that their priority was to increase the number of women entrepreneurs and to strengthen the human resource capacity within the municipal services that would give support to women who opt for entrepreneurship.
In the Municipality of Cetinje, Mr. Aleksandar Bogdanović, Mayor of Old Royal Capital Cetinje and his team welcomed Ms. Sultanoğlu. They expressed confidence that the highly productive collaboration of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje and UN agencies in Montenegro would continue in the future. Cooperation and results of UNDP’s support were discussed in the areas of:
- Economic revitalization of the old capital through urban reconstruction of the cultural heritage (“Beautiful Cetinje” project, including the reconstruction of the Royal Square, works on the temporary roof on the building of the former Russian embassy, and preparations for the upcoming reconstruction of the local square and market place in the village of Njeguši). Mayor Bogdanović also announced reconstruction of the old hospital "Danilo I" within the "Beautiful Cetinje" project.
- Project “Development of women's entrepreneurship in the capital of Cetinje”, which is part of the ‘economic empowerment’ component of the UNDP implemented and EU financed Gender Programme (IPA 2010).
- Social Welfare System Reform – Enhancing social inclusion, the project component “Strengthening of local self-governments capacities to manage social programmes – Cetinje”.
UNDP Regional Director for Europe and the CIS Ms. Sultanoğlu expressed satisfaction with the completed projects and the work of local governments, which, she says, may be an example of good practices.