Miščević: 2030 Agenda is Serbia’s national priority

January 24 2023 | Belgrade

Miščević: 2030 Agenda is Serbia’s national priority

Achieving the goals of sustainable development contained in the 2030 Agenda is a national priority for Serbia, which is making maximum efforts to ensure a stable and secure future, it was said today at the meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for the Implementation of the United Nations Framework for Sustainable Development Cooperation with the Republic of Serbia 2021–2025.

The meeting, held in the Palace of Serbia, was chaired by Minister of European Integration Tanja Miščević, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Françoise Jacob and Ambassador Vuk Žugić from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister Miščević said that the goals of sustainable development contained in the 2030 Agenda are a national priority, and that, on the other hand, Serbia’s “strategic and horizontal” priority is the process of European integration.

“We are not talking about two different things here, on the contrary, we are talking about the development agenda through the use of the negotiation process as an instrument of that very development”, Miščević said.

She stated that the priority is the development plan as the umbrella document of the strategic development plan of Serbia, taking into account all other elements.

“We are beginning the initial phase, which is the preparation of the legal framework for the development plan. It is not just one of the strategies, but the real, big development strategy where we have to consult and talk with everyone”, Miščević said.

She noted that the coronavirus pandemic greatly hampered the work of the interdepartmental working group for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as that she hopes to reactivate the work of that working group because, she added, coordination is a necessary element of implementing the strategy.

Žugić thanked the UN team for the constructive and successful cooperation which, as he said, significantly contributes to the realisation of national development priorities.“We expect that close cooperation will continue in the coming period, and in this sense, you can count on our full support and partnership”, he added.

He pointed out that today, when the world is facing complex challenges, achieving the goals of sustainable development is more than a priority.

“The consequence of the still current coronavirus pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, crises and conflicts in other parts of the world, polarisation in international forums, as well as the growing problem of climate change have further burdened the already complicated situation in most of the world’s economies and are testing our readiness to overcome all problems through joint action”, said Žugić.

He stated that deadlines were set for the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda and added that success in achieving the goals depends on our attitude and willingness to invest in the development and preservation of the environment in which we live.

“We are aware of the extent of our responsibility and the need to find answers to solve current challenges through coordinated action. That opportunity must be used, and the first step in that direction is political will, which must be accompanied by concrete activities and measures”, said Žugić.

He added that he believes that today’s meeting is also an excellent opportunity to once again confirm the commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, but also to point out the importance of cooperation and mutual exchange of experiences and good practices at all levels and with all stakeholders.

He pointed out that Serbia is making maximum efforts to ensure a stable and secure future while simultaneously initiating policies based on sustainable development goals, and emphasised that since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, Serbia has made noticeable progress.

“Starting from the importance of all 17 sustainable development goals, our main national priorities include solving the problems of the most sensitive and vulnerable groups, strengthening the economy, eradicating poverty, better education, youth issues, gender equality and empowering the position of women, a healthy environment and strengthening institutions, as well as investing maximum efforts in the area of improving respect for human rights and the rule of law”, added Žugić.

Jacob said that the priorities defined in the cooperation framework were jointly defined with all line ministries and 20 UN agencies participating in the cooperation framework.

“We work with all line ministries, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, numerous local self-governments, as well as with civil society and private sector. Our approach within the 2030 Agenda is focused on people and this is maintained in such a way that no one is left out”, Jakob stated.

She added that in the context of the crises we faced in 2022, the focus was on solving the problem of inequality, expanding the agenda of human rights and gender issues, as well as solving the problem of hate speech and misinformation.

“We also advocated throughout the year for the acceleration of the green transformation despite the new short-term constraints related to the growth of the cost of living, energy and food”, Jacob added.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for the period 2021–2025 is the basis for supporting our country in three important strategic areas – green transformation, social protection / demographic resilience and the rule of law, human rights, gender equality and good governance – in accordance with the 2030 Agenda and the EU Accession Agenda.

The Joint Steering Committee of the Government of Serbia and the United Nations is the highest governing body of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.

Source: Tanjug