Yesterday 17 July, on the occasion of the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development 2019, the Central European Initiative – Executive Secretariat, in cooperation with the CEI Italian Presidency, the Italian Permanent Mission to the UN, organised a side-event on  “The contribution of regional cooperation and partnerships to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the experience of the Central European initiative (CEI)“.

The event, held at the UN Headquarters, aimed at exchanging knowledge and experiences with all relevant stakeholders regarding best practices of regional partnership, such as the CEI, for the attainment of the UN Agenda 2030 in general, and the SDGs in particular.

It was opened and chaired by the Permanent Representative of Italy, Mariangela Zappia, who in her opening speech underlined the role of Italy as a founder and current Presidency and the importance to bring the Initiative’s experience, developed throughout the 30 years of its existence, to the United Nations.

The meeting was also attended by the Permanent Representatives of Croatia and Montenegro to the UN, Vladimir Drobnjak and Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic, respectively, as members of CEI Troika, who in their opening remarks highlighted the role of the CEI in tackling global challenges through joint regional actions. While greeting participants, CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione underlined that “There is never too much regional cooperation. In celebrating our 30th anniversary, we aim to continue providing strong support to the global multilateral action of the UN, and specifically to the process of advancing Sustainable Development Goals”. SG Antonione and CEI Deputy Secretary General Nina Kodelja actively participated in the discussion, presenting the main mission and operational method of the CEI to the benefit of the SDGs.

The event was attended by representatives of a number of Permanent Missions of the CEI and other countries to the UN, several National Coordinators and other prominent guests.

Miroslav Jenca, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas and Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, delivered keynote speeches, underlining the importance of the regional cooperation formats and their valuable input to the UN actions, in the delivery of the SDGs, thus contributing to the overall global security and peace.

In addition, a number of long-standing partners and beneficiaries of the CEI funds and instruments showcased their experience in developing regional actions, with the help of the CEI, in the attainment of the SDGs, in particular those under review of this year’s HLPF. In this context, Prof. Maria Cristina Pedicchio, President of the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS) made a presentation about the importance of scientific cooperation in meeting the goals; Branislav Prelević, President of the Board, Energy Regulatory Agency of Montenegro talked about the experience of Montenegro in tackling the climate change and their experience within the Know-how Exchange Programme and Aleksandar Filiposki of YES Foundation, North Macedonia presented several regional activities stimulating entrepreneurship in the region, thus contributing the economic growth.

The CEI gives special importance to the overall UN activities, also thanks to its Observer Status at the UN General Assembly. This was first-of-a-kind side-event held in New York, in addition to the traditional annual meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs held at the outskirts of the UNGA.

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