An upper middle-income country and member of NATO, Montenegro, became independent in 2006 and has been a candidate for European Union membership since that time. Despite socioeconomic and political progress, however, the country is approaching the end of a transition to a functioning market economy and facing challenges like an ageing population, high levels of out-migration, and a declining fertility rate. Governance and institutional gaps hinder necessary reforms as slow institutional progress leads to partial policy implementation, public sector inefficiencies, and concentrated ownership of business activities. Insufficient cross-sector cooperation, coordination and accountability, and data gaps further weak links between policy/program and budget planning when implementing reforms. Moreover, the undiversified economy has led to latent productivity constrained by limited governance for innovation and productive transformation. All these things prevent stakeholders from driving the 2030 Agenda forward.
Montenegro needs to deliver on last mile development to transform the country for residents and European Union membership. This requires significant action in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as an instrument to improve social progress, halt climate change and deliver on the promise to leave no one behind. The Montenegro SDG Acceleration Fund is an innovative instrument to bridge these gaps, designed by stakeholders to address development challenges in a coordinated and synergetic ways.
Fund partners rally with organizations from the United Nations development system (UNDS) in supporting processes that propel sustainable development in Montenegro, as well as for European Union accession. Catalytic support is channeled to priority areas in line with the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, Programme of Accession of Montenegro to the European Union, and forthcoming UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for 2023-2027.
Theory of change
Fund stakeholders help leverage the position of the United Nations in Montenegro to design and implement transformative interventions. Thematically, the Fund revolves around new areas outlined in the UNSDCF for 2023-2027:
- Inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability.
- Human capital development, reducing vulnerability, social inclusion.
- Social cohesion, people-centred governance, rule of law and human rights.
The theory of change for the Fund IF we create a common platform for value-based convening of strategic partners, and IF we establish a space for deliberations on and formulation of interventions that accelerate implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, and, through that angle support implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030 and the Montenegrin Programme of Accession to the European Union, and IF we create more opportunities and means for the UN Organisations to jointly address complex development and humanitarian challenges, THEN we will strategically address the priority development needs of Montenegro, fill critical development gaps and be in position to provide holistic and advanced support to the people in Montenegro that closes the “last mile” in transforming society towards European Union membership and achievement of SDGs.
Because Montenegro lacks a nimble financing and coordination mechanism that can address contemporary and ever-changing development challenges, the modality of pooled funding is used given its reputation as a successful financing tool in development and humanitarian contexts. The Montenegro SDG Acceleration Fund finances strategic interventions related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and European Union accession process in ways that strengthen the implementation of country-level United Nations reform.
Stakeholders support integrated and coherent resource mobilization through the centralized and transparent allocation of resources for strategic interventions that propel sustainable development. Financing supports the development and implementation of integrated activities that meet the SDGs, advance the European Union accession process and support UNSDCF 2023-2027 implementation. United Nations gender and human rights policies and principles are embedded in Fund action from inception to operations and governance.