UN Annual Conference 2022 Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia, Rossana Dudziak
21 December 2022
Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia, Rossana Dudziak
FOOD, FINANCE, FUEL AND SOCIAL PROTECTION
I am pleased to welcome you to the UN annual conference organised by the UN team in North Macedonia. Let me start by thanking you all, our panellists and our guests, for taking the time to join us during such a busy period, at the end of an exceptionally challenging year.
Every year, together with our national and international partners, we organise a UN conference to forward discussions on the most important developments and topics for the country and, consequently UN work in the country over the past 12 months. Inevitably, this year’s focus is on the challenges brought forward by energy, food security and finance crises.
While not the first nor the last of our lifetimes, the current crisis is grand in scope and impact, and in many ways unprecedented. This was supposed to be the Decade of Action during which the world was to give the final push to achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Instead, it started with Covid-19 pandemic and continued with consecutive and interconnected crises that put at risk the past achievements and progress towards sustainable development. Our world has changed and the challenges we are facing were difficult to imagine just a few years ago.
However, the underlying causes and drivers are neither new, nor surprising, and reflect our inability to sufficiently prioritize the advancement of Sustainable Development Goals. The scales and gravity of challenges differs across countries, but the overall challenges are globally shared. The deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity, climate change, pollution, and overexploitation of nature are increasing the risk of infectious zoonotic diseases and making parts of our planet unliveable. Insufficient investments in health systems contributed to high death tolls during Covid-19 pandemic. Its subsequent socio-economic impact reversed global gains to reduce poverty and has shaken the economy at all levels. In 2022, violence prevailed over peace and partnership in Europe, causing thousands of casualties, millions of displaced and destruction not seen since WW2. Lack of investments in green energy, food security and infrastructure further exposed the fragility of economies and boosted inflation. Low learning outcomes, inequality and insufficient gender equality created vulnerable groups who feel the impact from the crises much more severely.
But challenging times have also revealed opportunities. Globally we have seen strong solidarity and partnership in fighting Covid19, and the most recently also strong support for those fleeing war in Ukraine. Global and regional cooperation also largely contributed to addressing the challenges of the consecutive crises. The EU green lanes in 2020 and the intensifying cooperation within the Open Balkan initiative and wider in the Western Balkans proved extremely useful to overcome the initial food and energy security risks. But we need to be mindful that these risks persist.
Fortunately, we have also learnt a lot. We know that the policy solutions are complex. We need to respond to the immediate needs to pull people out of poverty, but we also need to support businesses to safeguard jobs. In the context of scarce financing, policy measures need to be well-targeted to ensure best possible results with limited resources available. Most of all, the policies need to be systematic, sustainable and visionary to ensure that, despite challenges, our path remains strongly focused on sustainable growth and development. This requires timely and accurate data, cooperation and coordination.
Earlier this year, to collectively assist the country and with support of the Joint SDG Fund, UN has commissioned a comprehensive analysis to assess the food, energy and finance crisis in a targeted, sustainable and evidence-based manner. The project is implemented jointly by UNDP, FAO and UNICEF in consultation with our partners in the Government, IFIs and the wider society. This conference is designed to present and discuss the findings of the analysis, but most of all it is aimed to jointly offer A View Beyondthe current crisis and those that may follow. We very much value your reflections on these findings in the discussion today as they will help shape our work and policy recommendations to better react to these crises in the next period.