I would like to thank the UN Secretary General for organising this Annual SDG Moment.
It is an honour to be part of this debate, which comes at a very important, yet uncertain time. The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe impact not only on the economy, it has also changed our lives and habits beyond recognition. Nowadays the need to focus on sustainable development is even more urgent, and this complex task requires coordinated reforms and profound shift in how we design our societies.
In 2015 we pledged “to leave no one behind” and agreed to implement the 2030 Agenda as adopted by UN member states. Our focus is on better life for all citizens, and our national efforts on sustainable development are also in line with our key foreign policy goal – joining the European Union.
The Rapid Integration Assessment of the SDGs conducted in 2019 found that 83% of national strategic development plans were aligned with the SDGs.
Priority goals for 2019-2020 for North Macedonia are: to end poverty; to provide inclusive and equitable quality education; to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent jobs for all, to take urgent actions to combat climate change, to ensure access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Climate change remains a challenge. At the Paris Summit in December 2015, the Government committed to reducing emissions from fossil fuels by as much as 36% by 2030 compared with the baseline scenario. We have taken measures to produce clean, affordable and secure energy, including increased use of solar energy. Air pollution remains a challenge for North Macedonia and it requires long-term, systemic approach, investing in greener economy for greener environment.
Equality before the law is a priority for us. We are committed to continue with structural reforms, strengthen the rule of law and judicial system that would be trusted by the majority of the citizens.
In July 2020 we presented the first Voluntary National Review, which reflects on the achievements on the Agenda 2030 and identifies next steps to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs in the remaining Decade of Action. In drafting this document, we partnered with and are grateful for the contribution to the UN agencies in North Macedonia, youth organizations, civil society, academia and chambers of commerce.
Sustainable development is not just an additional plan for the world. The Agenda 2030 is an obligation to ours and future generations to fully utilize the human potential and consider the legacy we will leave behind.