Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia, Rossana Dudziak
09 December 2022
Speech of the UN Resident Coordinator on marking this year’s UN Human Rights Day and the 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women and Girls
On December 10th , 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the bedrock of 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The shared values for all peoples and all nations are more relevant now than ever. Upholding equal rights for all is critical for the prosperity and the future of generations to come. I am glad we have several key stakeholders actively engaged in Human Rights with us today to mark this important day jointly.
The challenges of 2022 continued to impact all aspects of our work and life. While still recovering from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the region began the year with the looming energy crisis that was worsened by the impact of war in Ukraine, which has also significantly impacted food systems and the economy globally. The crisis diverted attention away from the environment and climate change topics and exposed the global reliance on fossil fuels. At the same time, 2022 saw increased interest in renewables and energy efficiency. The UN team invested special efforts in analysis of the impact of the energy, food and financing crisis and its impact on vulnerable groups.
The results of the long-awaited Census published in 2022 indicate significant demographic changes in the country. The overall population decreased and aged, with several cities facing depopulation. Strong labour migration trends have also reduced the proportion of working age youth. Life expectancy has increased, women are having fewer children. These are important trends, the causes and impacts of which we need to fully understand and take into consideration and support measures to address them within policies.
On global level, the Transforming Education Summit provided a unique opportunity to elevate education to the top of global political agenda and discuss how to transform education to prepare youth for the future and compensate for pandemic-related learning losses. North Macedonia was part of the Summit and submitted an ambitious national statement of commitments; to ensure that schools are inclusive, equitable, safe, and healthy environments for students and staff; and improve learning and skills for life; This is a rather challenging undertaking, and UN will continue supporting educational reform
The start of the EU screening process will provide additional impetus for reforms aimed at sustainable development. We hope to see continued progress of the country on the EU accession path in 2023.
The United Nations remains engaged with partners across multiple areas to support the country in addressing these challenges. In North Macedonia, 24 UN entities with operational activities in development and more than 350 personnel remain fully committed to implementing the Common Agenda. The 5-year Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (SDCF) is the key tool guiding the UN’s work in the country to contribute to inclusive prosperity, quality services for all, healthy environment and good governance in North Macedonia.
We will maintain our course in 2023 and introduce further initiatives to accelerate the country’s progress on the sustainability agenda.
In the area of prosperity, the UN will continue to support SMEs to create quality and green jobs; develop skills and enhance services for vulnerable groups, especially youth, women, elderly and PwD; enhance regulatory environment, social dialogue and fight against informalities; as well support authorities to enhance land consolidation and food security.
In the area of quality services for all, UN will continue supporting the reforms in education, health and social protection, to ensure that no is left behind.
In the area of healthy environment, in 2023 we will start several new initiatives such as affordable loans for renewables and energy efficiency through the Green Financing Facility and new phase of GCF readiness, climate resilience for agriculture through improved irrigation infrastructure, support to nature and environment of Prespa Lake, Shar Mountain and Ohrid Lake regions, and addressing air pollution in cities outside of Skopje.
In the area of good governance, we will continue strengthening and aligning policy, legal and institutional frameworks with international standards and EU acquis, with a particular focus on marginalized groups and those left behind. Initiatives will continue in 2023 inter alia focus on digital transformation, public administration and judicial reforms, reinforcing institutional capacities and accountability, as well as building constructive narratives among youth, positive attitudes towards refugees and migrants.
Finally, we continue supporting the country‘s work on the twenty-year National Development Strategy (NDS), closely with the Government and especially the Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi - who is with us here today.
I want to thank colleagues from all UN entities for sharing knowledge and and for their commitment in supporting the country. All the activities mentioned are thanks to their dedicated efforts. I also want to thank you, dear Ambassadors and representatives of international partners, for your countries’ generous support, without which results would not be possible. And last, but most important, let me thank DPM Bytyqi and Minister Nuredini and Minister Spasovskiu, as representatives of the government here today, for the ongoing cooperation of the government of North Macedonia and helping us make sure UN support is provided in the areas in which it is most needed for the citizens.