Handjiska-Trendafilova: Regional SDG Conference Confirmed the Strong Correlation between Resilient Public Administration and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals
The Regional Conference “Sustainable Development in the Western Balkans”, co-organized by ReSPA and the United Nations of Montenegro, under the patronage of the Government of Montenegro, provided a high-level regional platform shedding light on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity to significantly improve the social, economic and environmental aspects of life in the Western Balkans.
Dritan Abazović, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Peter Lundberg, UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, Yngve Engstroem, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Gwi-Yeop Son, UN Regional Director for Europe, and many other highly-relevant actors and policy-makers from the Western Balkans, senior public servants from the Region, EU experts and representatives of the United Nations shared their views on different practical solutions on how to bring the Western Balkans closer in the achievement of SDGs and their indicators.
“Today, we witness that Public Administration features more prominently in the Sustainable Development Goals, which indicates the growing importance of a resilient public sector which correlates with ReSPA’s mission and objectives. This Conference opened a pathway for more concrete actions of the Western Balkans in meeting the SD Goals. ReSPA has been supporting the Region in ensuring responsive, inclusive, and representative policy-making and upholding the principles of good administration. We are honoured to enable a regional platform for sharing emerging regional lessons in implementing the 2030 Agenda, focusing on the priorities for accelerated progress in meeting SDGs and ways to strengthen coordination and synergies with relevant intergovernmental processes and start thinking beyond 2030. The region has a tall order to deliver so that the global goals don’t grow even more distant. ReSPA stays devoted to supporting the Western Balkans in realizing nationally prioritized SDGs related to public administration reform through concrete policy instruments and developing resilient policies and administrative capacities” outlined Director Handjiska opening the Conference.
The importance of the SDG Goals for the Western Balkans was especially highlighted by Prime Minister Abazović who outlined that “if there is a topic in the region that brings all countries together, it is the sustainable development and SDGs because all citizens in the region want clean rivers and air, inclusion, and a better quality of life in general like citizens in the EU. Let the SDGs be a point of unification and reconciliation of the region. I am an optimist for the positive contribution our region can extend” emphasized Prime Minister Abazović.
Deputy Ministers and State Secretaries from the Administrations of the Western Balkans discussed during the High-Level Policy Dialogue Panel on Improving SDG Coordination, from institutional setup to implementing and monitoring sustainable development policies in the Region. Officials shared good practices from their home administrations and exchanged views on how to boost the political dimension of SDGs.
The Conference, designed as a participatory and discussion forum, also tackled numerous essential topics, such as complementary interlinkages between the Agenda 2030 and EU policies and accession, the Voluntary National Reviews process in the Western Balkans, financing and localization of SDGs and how to make sustainable development closer to the people and broaden partnerships. Also, some of the important topics discussed were the importance of Monitoring progress and SDG mid-term review.