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UNECE and partners support Serbia’s efforts for 2030 Agenda alignment

The role of the UN Development System (UNDS) in supporting implementation of the holistic 2030 Agenda is framed by the UN Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) common approach. This system-wide undertaking represents a crucial opportunity to mobilize and leverage the expertise and comparative advantage of different agencies, funds and programmes at all levels of UN system to contribute to human-centered and rights-based sustainable development. Extending this process to include development partners at the national level further helps to adapt the MAPS approach to the specific needs of each country, and in the case of Serbia, the central agenda of accession to the European Union.

In this context, UNECE co-led a recent MAPS Mission “From Accession to Acceleration” to support the ongoing efforts of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in contextualizing and adapting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to national needs in line with the ongoing EU accession and related reform processes.

The MAPS mission conducted a series of meetings and consultations with representatives of government departments, private sector, and civil society to share knowledge, guidance and expertise on effective and coherent implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Mission was requested by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of international experts of United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes, the World Bank, and the EU delegation. “The MAPS Mission’s visit is very timely as it will help define the priorities for country’s sustainable development platform while taking into the account the ongoing EU accession process and related reforms that play a critical role as the key accelerator for Agenda 2030 in Serbia,” said Ms. Karla Robin Hershey, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia.

Five UN issue-based coalitions have been included in the MAPS Mission: (1) health and wellbeing for all at all ages; (2) gender equality; (3) adolescents and youth; (4) large movements of people, displacement and resilience and; (5) SDG monitoring.  Further thematic areas included cover education, poverty, economy, decent work, environment, disaster risk management, innovations, culture and human rights. Experts are being provided by the UN system, World Bank and the EU.

The MAPS Mission report will be finalized in November 2018, and presented to the Government of Serbia, which is presently preparing its National Voluntary Review to be presented at the High Level Political Forum in New York in June 2019. The report will provide proposals for the Government of Serbia with recommended policy interventions to accelerate SDG progress. This will provide the context for Serbia’s Interministerial Working Group on SDGs to ensure the mainstreaming of respective SDGs in the work of government ministries, as well as to provide the context in which civil society organizations, the business sector, and academia can engage in national efforts for SDG implementation. 

Together with the work presently supported by the UN in Serbia to nationalize the SDGs and their targets to the Serbian context, the report will be used to define the next UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Serbia for 2021-2025, and the national priority areas to which the UN system will tailor its support. 

This is also the first time that a MAPS mission included both the World Bank and EU delegation experts. As such the report will provide a solid basis for the Government to align its priority actions in a complementary manner in pursuit of accession to the European Union, as well as achievement of the SDGs.