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S. Jovic: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


Allow me briefly to introduce myself. I have been engaged in UN peacekeeping, peace building, and conflict resolution in very different country settings. For over 20 years, I have been working on finding peaceful solutions with government officials and local leadership in countries affected by conflict or protracted crises. What lessons have I learned?

Setting aside different causes of conflict, it comes down to the qualities and skills possessed by the individuals in position of power. Positive leadership, rising above narrow-minded, self-centered, short-term interests and making decisions for the benefit of their communities, is fundamental in creating conditions to resolve conflict and set the foundation for finding peaceful solutions.

Another important factor is involvement of women in the peace process because peace negotiators often overlook a strategy that could reduce conflict and advance stability. It is worth noting that in the recent years more women have stood against violence and misrepresentation in various forms and have proved that change is possible.

This has not gone by unnoticed, and that is why we need you. We need you to promote core values and to serve as role models to younger generations that are well aware that they have been failed by short-term thinking and gains, selfishness, and a failed education system that does not prepare them for today’s economic, political, ethic, and moral crises. 

The necessity for today is to find solutions and facilitate development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Young people need someone to look up to and someone who will advocate for their interests: parents, mothers, grandparents, guardians. The more women are seen in positions of power and decision making, the more positive, holistic and based on empathy these decisions will be. 

There are many ways in which one can contribute to peace, stability and prosperity. Coming from the United Nations, I can think of one way to assist your communities. It is by engaging in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a holistic approach building on principles of “leaving no one behind.”

Whether the priorities of your country are addressing poverty, hunger, education, health, gender equality, inequality, climate, clean water, environmental degradation, economic growth or peace and security, engaging with the United Nations and civil society in promoting implementation of the 17 SDGs can be the first step, as they are seen as blueprint to achieve a better and more stable future. You can bring synergies between grassroots civil society and decision makers. The UN Resident Coordinator office and the UN Program Development office are in lead to support governments and civil society institutions in implementation of these global goals. 

The SDG Fund already has joint programs in 21 countries, all of which incorporate the overarching themes of this new 2030 Agenda. These programs are created through the collaboration of the United Nations with national governments and civil society and in consultation with the private sector. The ongoing projects are, for example, education for Afghanistan women in neighboring countries, solar panel systems for schools in Yemen, capacity building in civil society, or rebuilding after an earthquake.

In your respective countries there are UN country offices that can facilitate these cooperations.



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