ZORAN MILANOVIĆ, President of Croatia, highlighted that addressing the current crises requires safeguarding the role of the United Nations as the centre of global cooperation. Efforts are also needed to reform the Security Council — the main instrument for peace and security. Noting that time is running out to revive political commitments to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, he praised the stimulus in the form of Our Common Agenda. Further, he expressed support for the reform of the global financial institutions, observing that they are increasingly unable to respond to the current challenges adequately and efficiently. To this end, the world also needs to scale-up development and climate finance.
He went on to note that preventing conflicts is more cost-effective than resolving them and financing post-conflict reconstruction. Conflict prevention should thus be at the centre of the New Agenda for Peace. Croatia, as a Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission for 2023, strongly advocates its strengthening and enlarging of both its geographical and thematic scope. He added that the Commission could review national conflict prevention strategies and help to mobilize resources for their implementation. It should also work more closely with international financial institutions and regional actors. In addition, the Commission could be enabled to establish United Nations civilian missions upon the request of countries concerned. Turning to the Sustainable Development Goals, he informed that Croatia is, according to a recent report, among the top-ranked countries in their implementation and noted that it has a large natural heritage to preserve for future generations, he said.
On biodiversity, he stated that Croatia is committed to working jointly for the development and full implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework as well as to intensifying cooperation in protecting the marine environment and combatting plastic pollution. In this vein, praising the adoption of the High Seas Treaty, he announced that his country is one of its first signatories and will ratify it as soon as possible. He called on other countries to follow suit, so the Treaty can enter into force. As a member of the European Union, Croatia has already pledged to contribute to making Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050. This can turn current crises into a new chance for Europe’s economies. As an example, he spotlighted the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project — based on decarbonization and clean industry. Besides Croatia and Slovenia, it also encompasses the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
To create a peaceful world that respects human rights and promotes social progress, more must be done to prevent atrocities and operationalize the responsibility to protect, he underscored. Further, he reiterated Croatia’s support for combatting hate speech, advancing the rights of women and children, protecting minorities and abolishing the death penalty. Regionally, Croatia continues to attach the utmost importance to its immediate neighbourhood in South-Eastern Europe. In this regard, welcoming Bosnia and Herzegovina being granted status as a European Union candidate country, he argued for electoral reforms in that country to ensure a legitimate representation of all constituent peoples. This is, in his view, essential for the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also encouraged the de-escalation of tensions between Pristina and Belgrade. The parties “need to focus on normalization of relations and deliver on their commitments”, he stressed, calling for the universal recognition of Kosovo.
Read the full statement, in PDF format.
Access the statements from previous sessions.