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Speech by Igor Lukšić, Montenegro’s candidate, at the UN General Assembly’s informal dialogue with candidates for the post of UN Secretary-General…
Speech by Igor Lukšić, Montenegro’s candidate, at the UN General Assembly’s informal dialogue with candidates for the post of UN Secretary-General
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed an enormous pleasure and privilege to address you today as we begin with this the new approach in selecting Secretary General of the UN.
Today, together, we are pathfinders.
And I hope it is for the best of our world.
I come from a small but proud country with turbulent history.
As an integral part of the socialist Yugoslavia under the leadership of Tito, Montenegro shared the international commitment in setting up the UN.
Many people don’t know it, but Montenegro first sent peacekeepers to the island of Crete in late 19th century thus taking part in the first modern age peace operation.
I come from a country that restored its independence 10 years ago after a peaceful democratic referendum thus breaking the pattern in the region.
A country that has hugely invested in preserving its multicultural, multireligious and multiethnic identity.
My hometown, the Mediterranean town of Bar, has been known for centuries as a true example of diversities.
The old town although relatively small used to wall in Christian orthodox and catholic churches along with mosques.
By pointing out all of this, ladies and gentlemen, I am trying to say that I understand the modern day challenges.
Many contend this is by far the best time in history to be born.
But does the youth globally share the sentiment?
Are those who are under 25 and make a half of the world’s population happy with what life has to offer?
People tend to grow pessimistic, and many lie down or wake up in fear.
2015 was a pivotal year for concluding several multilateral agreements.
There is no better way to achieve peace and security, foster development and protect human rights than by pursuing our common Agenda through global endeavor supported by an integrated approach.
So, there is reason for optimism!
And the first task, indeed, ought to be building optimism through committed efforts.
We must show our youth we deserve this chance!
Current international peace and security landscape raises deep concerns.
In too many places, international community has been unable to prevent and end bloodshed and stop attrocities and suffering of millions of people.
Complex challenges such as contemporary and protracted conflicts, dire humanitarian situations, migration/refugee flows, spread of international terrorism and violent extremism are testing our ability to protect the UN Charter and ensure effective protection of civilians, especially the most vulnerable.
Compliance with international law and redoubling collective efforts in placing primacy on political solutions for solving differences, rectifying tensions and achieving sustained peace and stability including renewed efforts towards disarmament should be central.
I firmly believe we can do more to strengthen prevention and mediation capacities and tools across the UN.
To that end there has to be a greater participation by women and youth in addressing challenges and root causes of conflicts and extremism, as well as in improving humanitarian activities.
One of obvious avenues yet still untapped is through partnership with regional and sub-regional organizations.
This also means fostering regional cooperation.
For instance, after I initiated it 3 years ago building on the existing forms, together with my colleagues from the region and the European Commission we have worked out an effective Western Balkans 6 format as part of the wider regional initiatives.
Not only is it a mechanism of economic and political cooperation but also a tool for preventive diplomacy other regions can replicate.
As I have looked into the matter carefully, I believe this leads to the conclusion that there has to be a certain modification in the way the UN team works.
More efficiency and effectiveness can be brought about by setting up the UN Peace Operations Group closely supervised by SG and DSG as presented in the vision statement.
This modification can make a difference in supplying the Security Council and the Peace Building Commission with necessary and improved insight enabling better decision making and improved coordination.
Additionally, DSG should have a more accentuated role in dealing with regional and sub-regional arrangements, as well in the field of mediation and prevention.
The 2030 Agenda, along with Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Sendai Framework and Climate Agreement respond in a viable way to the challenges in all three pillars.
But now we need to make them work. We need a more relevant UN in supporting countries to deliver successfully on all these agreements.
In order to avoid duplication, it is critical to define leading UN AFPs for each SDG in a cluster-shaped structure.
Cooperation must be strengthened with other multilateral partners as well as with the private sector.
To that end, establishing an efficient bottom up Follow-Up and Review process anchored in the UN and based on good statistics, become crucial for accelerating implementation of SDGs.
We need to learn from already existing concepts – the UPR for instance.
In my opinion, inclusive UN Regional Economic Commissions should be important players in the establishment of Regional Fora for Sustainable Development consisting of different stakeholders.
It will have pivotal importance in making sure the global development agreements are implemented.
I firmly believe that UN Development Group should therefore be transformed into a UN Sustainable Development Group, co-chaired by the UNDP Chief Administrator and Human Rights High Commissioner as shown in the vision statement.
UNSD Group should make sure that the new generation of UNDAFs fully reflects the complementary Agendas related to development and human rights, so that no one is left behind.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The fact that human rights permeate the whole Agenda 2030 but are at the same time in the core of the peace operations give that pillar a very prominent role.
The HRuF initiative should continue as it gives priority to early warning and prevention in particular.
In order to make more impact on the ground cooperation with Governments, civil society and regional organizations is essential.
HRC has proved its relevance in improving the human rights agenda and it deserves a debate about making it one of the principal bodies.
Reducing inequalities and combating discrimination requires system-wide coordinated engagement and further strengthening of collaboration between UN entities.
This includes raising awareness of the existing international legal instruments and standards as well as developing capacities to attain them.
The 21st Century United Nations must have a results oriented, modern, efficient and truly global Secretariat.
Thus, the next Secretary General should appoint Deputy Secretary General seeking to meet gender equality principle as well as northern-southern hemisphere equality principle.
Additionally, I firmly believe Nairobi should be discussed as a seat of the DSG.
This includes the efforts to make the Senior Management Team reflect gender equality and regional participation.
An Office for the Youth has to be established in the Secretariat.
Secretary General as part of the preparations to deliver 2018-2019 budget has to undertake a deep review of the current budget in line with Agenda 2030.
It also means that programme budgeting has to be in the centre.
It should result in greater core budget flexibility to prioritize in favor of prevention, mediation, human rights agenda as well as offices that are in charge of close cooperation with regional arrangements.
Further internal improvements are both needed and inevitable as laid down in the vision statement.
There can always be room for modifications and improvements as we go ahead.
Lifelong learning should be our in-house commitment to SDGs.
Well, it is true.
Some may point out I have no experience in working within the UN, but I have developed extensive experience in working with the UN.
In 2009 the Government of Montenegro confirmed our participation in ‘’Delivering as One’’ as one of the self-starter countries.
Now we are in the final year of the first integrated program 2010-2016.
I am happy I could be at the heart of it with my colleagues and make change.
Our experience now travels around the globe as one of showcases as we prepare to implement new UNDAF in line with 2030 Agenda.
In case of Montenegro, it has helped meet objectives – faster development.
On the UN side coordinated and coherent work of the whole UN system has demonstrated positive results in solving complex issues that require inter-sector and inter-agency cooperation.
On a concluding note Mr President
In my career I have had the privilege to serve my country in various capacities.
I have always tried to learn something new.
As Finance Minister I have learned that one can never be happy enough with the value you obtain from the resources invested.
As Foreign Minister I have learned it takes a lot of patience and perseverance no matter how good a goal is.
As Prime Minister I have learned that despite all the skepticism if there is a strong will, things can get done.
My role and the role of the future UN administration will be to do our best to reflect the needs of the ever changing world.
Nothing lasts forever but the certainty of change.
Therefore, we have to work to be able to accommodate for those that come up.
This vision is about ensuring effective and efficient UN system in addressing existing and emerging challenges by extending partnerships and strengthening coordination.
We need to reinvent multilateralism through the principles of responsibility, inclusiveness and engagement.
Source: Government of Montenegro