65 years of Albania in UN and 100 years membership to the League of Nations

- Speech by Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator in Albania during the event organized by Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

UNRC Fiona McCluney

It is an honor to participate in this event to mark the 100th anniversary of Albania’s membership to the League of Nations and the 65th anniversary of membership to the United Nations.

This has been an unprecedented year. While we feel discouraged these days witnessing how the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world into a deep health and economic crisis, food security, climate change and gender equality are at stake, and the existing vulnerabilities and inequalities exacerbated within and among countries, it is important to remind ourselves of our achievements.

Today –we look back and see how the world has changed and progressed in keeping the ideals of the United Nations – peace, justice, equality and dignity — the beacons to a better world. More than ever, we count on the values of an inclusive multilateralism in which the United Nations family, international financial institutions, and others work together more closely and more effectively in pursuit of progress for all.

So many accomplishments to note: Wars have been ended or avoided, peace agreements signed and peace kept and built, millions of people have been kept alive through massive humanitarian efforts and many more millions have been lifted out of poverty, their human rights protected, education enabled and economic possibilities created, landmark pacts signed to protect the environment and our planet.

Such a unanimous support for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which provide an inspiring vision for the 21st century.

This is certainly an important year to mark such milestones for UN- its 75th anniversary but also key milestones of Albania’s international diplomacy journey.  Albania’s membership in the United Nations (December 14, 1955), the partnership with UN in Albania and its overall performance within the UN system has evolved and deepened dramatically.

Albania demonstrated leadership in promoting reform within the United Nations itself when volunteering to pilot the Delivering as One UN initiative, back in 2007, contributing to advancing more relevance, effectiveness and coherence of the UN development activities on the ground. For many years, we have proudly continued to develop cooperation in a wide variety of areas, strengthened democratic institutions, improve business climate, close gender gaps, improve health and labor standards, increase access to equitable and quality basic services, increase public access to information, environmental protection and disaster preparedness, reduce disparities, expand education and the rights of children, promote human rights in general while reaching out to those furthest left behind.

It is important to remind ourselves on this day that Albania has served and/or is still serving in several UN Councils and Committees (such as the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Human Rights Council, Women’s Status Committee) and governing bodies of several programmes and specialized agencies (such as UNESO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UNEP, WHO, UN Habitat).  This is an important recognition of the progress Albania has made in the areas of human rights and democratic society, its role in the area of disarmament, fight against terrorism and violent extremism, its marked contribution to regional cooperation, security and stability, with its outstanding tradition of cultural and religious tolerance.

Albania has joined UN initiatives that aim to fight terrorism and violent extremism, including the ratification of all twelve United Nations anti-terrorist conventions and protocols. At a time of raising tensions and polarization, Albania has strongly supported the call of the United Nations Secretary-General for a global ceasefire. In its capacity as Chair of the OSCE this year, Albania has proven active leadership and offered a proactive contribution to international peace and security through the country’s own regional experience in promoting peace, stability, and security. Albania has presented its candidature for election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, for the mandate 2022- 2023. Although small, the country represents a powerful voice for democracy, equality, peace and development, and we fully support the candidacy.

Albania has signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement and is working to achieve the United Nations global goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050. It has also adopted the Strategy on Climate Change and the Mitigation Action Plan of greenhouse gas emissions.

Coming back to the SDGs. The country is committed in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030. Albania has aligned its national priorities and objectives to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the National Strategy for Development and Integration and successfully reported at the High-Level Political Forum in 2018. It is to be congratulated country’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda as well as the government’s initial contribution to the Albania SDG Acceleration Fund, an innovative funding vehicle, to address priority needs and gaps in the country. Last week I participated in a session with the Speaker of Parliament and the MPs to discuss the Parliament’s commitment and what more could be done. And I was pleased to see the commitment of MPs to push the Agenda2030 forward. The UN in Albania is committed to assisting all Albanians in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year and the next are important for our joint cooperation with the Government of Albania as we develop together our next United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Albania during the period 2022-2026. We will pay special attention to the needs of the most vulnerable groups, especially to those of young people.

In this regard, since we have youth invited in this activity, who represented Albanian youth in the GA, I am happy to announce that we have established a Youth Advisory Board, which will mentor the UN Country Team on youth issues in the country including the Cooperation Framework, while influencing design of better youth oriented programmes.

The achievement of Agenda 2030 efforts is inextricably linked to the EU integration agenda. Aspirations for EU integration, with progress noted in the implementation of ambitious and comprehensive reforms, remain at the core of all government efforts serving also as accelerator for achievement of SDGs. We are currently working hard together with UN in other countries in the Western Balkans to prepare an eligibility package to Peace Building Fund, the first of its kind for this region, and in partnership with respective Governments will apply for funding which will support various regional projects aimed at advancing peace building and reconciliation efforts in the region.

I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge the Government of Albania for the trust they have extended to the United Nations in Albania. Our partnership is notably excellent, as we work alongside partners to support country’s priorities. The United Nations Country team stands ready to assist Albania in its journey to accelerate the progress on the new Sustainable Development Goals. Given the current challenges we face, multilateralism is not an option but a necessity as we build back better and greener for a more equal, more resilient, and more sustainable world.

Congratulations on this day and I look forward to work closely with you and partners to achieve our shared commitments and to better serve to the people of Albania.

Speech by
Author
Fiona McCluney
Resident Coordinator
RCO
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UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNDSS
United Nations Department of Safety and Security
UNECE
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNOPS
United Nations Office for Project Services
WHO
World Health Organization
Other entities involved in this initiative
ALB MEFA
Albania Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
ALB SSS
Albania State Social Service