Luxembourg and UN Team team up to help drive sustainable development
This week marked an important step forward for Montenegro's sustainable development and EU accession process. On 14 December, the Government of Luxembourg and the United Nations team in Montenegro signed the first contribution agreement for the Montenegro Acceleration Fund.
This fund is a pooled funding mechanism that aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and imminent achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Montenegro.
The Montenegro SDG Acceleration Fund is expected to deliver significant support to Montenegro's development process. The fund will focus on three strategic priority areas: inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability; human capital development, reducing vulnerability, social inclusion; and social cohesion, people-centered governance, rule of law and human rights. The fund is also expected to bridge existing gaps in the country's development finance, allowing for necessary reforms to be implemented and the 2030 Agenda to be met.
Establishment of the Fund is timely as it comes along with the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework as the expression of the needs of Montenegro and the UN’s response to these need
The management of the fund will be entrusted to the Joint Steering Committee, which will be co-chaired by the UN System in the country and the Government of Montenegro. The Secretariat of the Fund will be performed by the Office of the Resident Coordination, while the Multi Partner Trust Fund Office will perform duties of the Administrative Agent, ensuring the highest fiduciary and transparency standards, as the UN center of expertise in UN inter-agency pooled funding. The Joint Steering Committee will also establish the Advisory Body in order to sound out strategic positioning of the Fund and the interventions that are financed through this vehicle.
Commenting on this agreement, Peter Lundberg, Resident Coordinator United Nations in Montenegro said: “The Montenegro SDG Acceleration Fund is an advanced and innovative tool for strategic partnerships that addresses the development challenges in Montenegro in a coordinated and synergetic manner. It also comes as a new generation of pooled funding mechanisms and a tool to enhance implementation of the UN Reform at country level.”
The Fund, a pooled funding mechanism, is open to contributions from the public and private sectors. The plan is to organize a joint event in the beginning of 2023 to introduce the fund and discuss potential projects for its implementation.
Montenegro is an upper middle-income country, member of NATO and candidate for EU membership that regained its independence in 2006. Although the country has responded to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, segments of the population are either excluded or at the risk of being excluded, governance and institutional gaps continue to hinder the necessary reforms, and insufficient availability of development finance may hinder the ability to drive the 2030 Agenda forward.
This agreement marks an important step in the right direction, as parties involved are now one step closer to enabling Montenegro to deliver on the last development mile in transforming the country towards the EU membership and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.