European Summer School

Sep 26, 2016

Talking points Brian J. Williams,
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative,

Your Excellency, the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, Mr. Meta
Madam Chairwoman of the National Committee of European Integration, Ms. Bregu
Madam Minister of EU Integration, Ms. Gjosha
Madam EU Ambassador, Ms. Vlahutin,
Honorable guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to address this audience today. I am thrilled to see that public administration officials, young researchers and representatives from civil society, journalists are gathered to discuss on the most pressing priority of Albania- how to build up a sustainable path towards the EU integration?

Albania has made important strides ahead in the EU accession process. Vital reforms including the justice sector, economic, and social areas, with the encouragement to continue with implementation and reach tangible results have given an impetus towards the EU path.

But this requires, much more. This process remains very dynamic. It requires political willingness, functioning mechanisms, and significant technical engagement from all angles of the society.

You are here today to get the wisdom of distinguished professionals in the EU integration matters, increase your knowledge so you can be amongst tomorrow’s negotiators with the EU. Thus, I will somehow expand the focus on what I named : “sustainable path” of the process.
As you are aware, last week the Heads of State gathered in NY to discuss and agree collectively on the implementation of the Agenda 2030- a set of 17 goals, 169 targets and 229 indicators that need to be achieved by 2030. They pledged to address persistent challenges, including those posed by violent conflicts, imminent security threats and the large movement of refugees and migrants, an unstable economy and the high unemployment rates, gender equality, education and climate change warning.  The 2030 Agenda is a call for transformation addressed to everyone, regardless income levels, requiring balance of needs with opportunities. It sets priorities for the next 15 years and sets our vision towards that time horizon which not only fulfills our dreams and hopes, but doesn’t  compromise the needs of the next generation.

The same goes with the Albania’s EU integration dream. Albania has embarked on a train towards the final destination: EU. The country has taken the right direction and speed to the next station, opening of the talks. And the train should be the same which brings us closer the achievement of SDGs. Both processes are so much entwined, as the EU integration remains the driving force towards SDGs. It only requires to connect the dots towards positive change- dedicated support, practical application of goals and continuous monitoring of implementation.

As of today, the Government of Albania has initiated a number of efforts to implement the SDGs. First, Albania was a pilot country for outlining the indexes of Goal 16- related to inclusive societies and good governance. Much of the discussion of this highly controversial SDG has focused on creating appropriate targets and metrics for reducing violence, promoting security and the rule of law, fighting extremism, and creating strong, inclusive and effective institutions to deliver justice and public services. UN has strongly supported the Government to advance positive steps in these areas.

Second, the SDGs were carefully integrated into the National Strategy for Development and Integration 2015-2020, to allow mainstreaming of “sustainability” into policy making processes and transformative actions  around the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely economic development, social inclusion and environment.

Third, substantial analysis has been undertaken to interlink the targets and indicators into the sectorial strategies and five year statistical programme.

Communication and awareness raising activities on SDGs have reached out to different audiences including public administration, local level communities, NGOs, youth, women, and children, among others. Business sector has also been approached, as we know that SDGs cannot be achieved without business- in order to transform the business models to deliver also social and environmental value. This is only the start, as the Government will design a national plan for implementation of SDGs in the years to come, which will guide the support and engagement of all stakeholders in its achievement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to take this opportunity to interact with the future negotiators, who during the next days will acquire knowledge and skills on the EU decision-making and accession process, improve the inter-institutional coordination on the national level, as well as build effective networks. And of course, both EU and SDGs processes highlight the necessity to engage people from all walks of the society, including your precious contribution, in order to strengthen the inclusiveness and accountability of the needed reforms.

And I would like to congratulate the organizers, and wish very productive deliberations.  

 

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