UNDP and national partners established the Centre for Sustainable Development of Montenegro

13 Dec 2013

imagePhoto: gov.me

In order to provide a platform for promotion of sustainable development while maintaining competitiveness, UNDP and partners from the Government of Montenegro established the Center for Sustainable Development, which will start to work in January 2014.

Key mission of the Center will be to promote sustainable development in the context of EU accession. The institution will focus on sustainable tourism, sustainable energy (including energy efficiency and renewable energy), management of resources and ecosystems, and adaptation to the effects of climate changes and safety in the environment.

A Memorandum on the establishment and operation of the Center was signed by Mr. Branimir Gvozdenović, Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky.

"The work of the Centre will initially be focused on the issues of main interest for Montenegro. One of objectives will be gradual gathering of countries in the region with similar interests – both as partners and beneficiaries. One of major functions of the Centre will be to make additional link between science and decision making processes. The Board of directors emphasized the importance of establishing cooperation between the Center and the National Council for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, in particular on sustainable resource management," said Minister Gvozdenović.

Initially, UNDP will carry out the operations of the Center, monitored by the Board of Directors with the Minister of Sustainable Development as chair. Members of the Board will be Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Minister of Economy, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro. One of Center's main activities in 2014 will be to clearly define the process of gradual transition towards its future legal status.

"UNDP in Montenegro has initiated the establishment of the Center for Sustainable Development as a contribution to balanced environmental management and economic and regional development in Montenegro. We will rely on our experience gained through years of work in the field of economy and environmental protection in the country and at the global level," said Mr. Vrbensky.

The initial two-year period would leave space for the Government and the UNDP as co-funders of the Center to engage around the medium-term planning, addressing at the same time programmatic priorities, issues management and the necessary funding. This would ensure connectivity with a network of centers which establishment UNDP helped worldwide through its network of knowledge, support and potential partnerships.

"The Center will have UNDP's full support as an institution at the global level. It would be ideal if it could be considered as one in the global network of centers supported by the UNDP. Ideally, the Montenegrin center could one day become a hub for innovative practices, not only in terms of management and structure but also in terms of the way it implements activities and provides results," Mr. Vrbensky emphasized.

Limited human and natural resources and increasing environmental concerns have become an indivertible context for sustainable economic development in Montenegro and globally. Building a long-lasting social and environmental foundation for sustainable development in a rapidly changing business ecosystem, as well as attaining competitive advantage in a global economy requires smart business development and innovation.

A large number of similar centers was established at the global level, with the support or partially funded by the UNDP. Connecting the Montenegrin center with the global network of RIO+ centers will provide opportunities for the exchange of experience, knowledge, expertise and ideas. Also, this will provide the Montenegrin center with an opportunity for an integrated perspective, approaches and solutions of key issues, and for its acting as a treasury of knowledge and scientific evidence and supporter of partnerships.

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More about the Center for Sustainable Development of Montenegro

Montenegro is endowed with privileged topography and a geographical location that makes it extremely attractive for tourism industry. Its natural and energy resources - if treated in a sustainable manner - can serve country's own economy in many years to come.

However, at the national level, decision makers are facing difficulties in terms of allocation of available resources and their use. More and more often they are confronted with the fact that there are less and less available resources while at the same time the demand increases. Demographic and climate changes further increase the pressure. The traditional fragmented approach is no longer sufficient, therefore a transition to the holistic approach to planning and use of resources becomes essentially important.

In Montenegro, the idea of a sustainable development institution dates back to 2005 when the Government and UNDP, together with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Government of Costa Rica explored possibilities for strengthening the institutional framework in support of sustainable development. The Office of Sustainable Development emerged from this discussion.  

The process of establishing of the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) in Montenegro was intensified in the fall 2012. The first activity was related to the preparation of the Concept Note by Mr. Luis Gomez-Echeverri, Senior Adviser to the UN Secretary General, followed by his mission to Montenegro in March 2013, when a series of high-level meetings was organized with national partners and the UNDP team to discuss the Concept Note. Comments received have been subsequently incorporated and document finalised. In addition, during the visit of Ms. Cihan Sultanoğlu, UNDP Assistant Administrator & Regional Director for Europe and the CIS to the Montenegro in May 2013, the establishment of CSD has been one of main points discussed and agreed with the Prime Minister and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Sustainable Development and Tourism.

Mission and priority areas: Promoting sustainable development in the context of EU accession agenda, the mission would be tailored to the specific needs of Montenegro and the Western Balkan region with initial focus on the specific areas of (i) sustainable tourism, (ii) sustainable energy (including energy efficiency and renewable energy), (iii) resource and ecosystem management and (iv) resilience to climate change and environmental security

Functions:
(i) Linking global and regional processes with national response; (ii) Applied research, policy analysis and evidence based policy-making; (iii) Acting as bridge between science and policy; (iv) Innovation for sustainable development; (V) Knowledge management, advocacy and partnership promotion and (VI) Project implementation.

Governance: Full-fledged independent Montenegrin/ regional institution, the Center would start by ‘converting’ UNDP Economy and Environment Cluster (and Country Programme Document Outcome 3) - with a portfolio of projects of more than 6 million USD for next 4 years - into a Nationally-Implemented (NIM) Programme overseen by the Steering Committee chaired by the Minister of Sustainable Development and tourism (acting as a National Programme Director in UNDP terminology).

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Back in 1987, the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, „Our Common Future“, defined sustainable development as „development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.“

Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, hundreds if not thousands of centers on sustainable development – national, regional and global - have been established by governments, by international institutions, by universities and other academic institutions, by NGOs and business communities throughout the world. Many are dedicated to interdisciplinary issues. But there are also many that are specialized and thematic in nature in areas such as inclusive growth, poverty eradication, governance, land use and ecosystem management, climate change, and technology, to name just a few.