It is a great privilege to be with you today on behalf of the UN Secretary-General as we inaugurate a unique and impressive new home for the United Nations. It is an honour to be at your side, Mr. President, and to be joined by other dignitaries from Montenegro and the international community.
First of all I want to recognize the partners who were instrumental in bringing us to this day and this moment, starting with the Government of Montenegro which provided generous support for the construction of the UN Eco Building.
The Municipality of the Capital City Podgorica offered a valuable piece of land on the banks of the river Moraca.
The Government of Austria, through the Austrian Development Agency, organized the architectural competition and provided other forms of support.
And the United Nations helped with the main design of the building and with the eco-friendly furniture and partitions.
I also want to thank the architects, the engineers, the contractors and the workers who toiled tirelessly to ensure the successful completion of the project.
In other words: there have been many partners – and now we have a great outcome! That is what I would call Delivering as One.
Thanks to this generosity, vision and hard work, we stand here today in this energy-efficient and carbon-neutral UN house, symbolic of the future we need.
The UN Eco Building initiative is built on two basic ideas, two strong pillars.
First, Montenegro’s commitment to be an ecological state, as enshrined in its Constitution. The UN Eco Building demonstrates Montenegro’s strong commitment to sustainable development.
Second, the pledge of the United Nations to support you in your work to improve the lives of, and expand opportunities for, all the people of Montenegro.
This house will enhance the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Montenegro and the United Nations. It will also serve as a meeting place for the generation of new, creative ideas in several areas of nation-building.
We are especially gratified, indeed excited, that all UN organizations will be under one roof.
This will create the best possible environment for coherence, breaking down silos and providing an ideal setting for working horizontally, across departments, between different parts of the UN family. This will increase the strength and relevance of the UN’s partnership with the government and people of Montenegro.
Let me also today state that Montenegro is an important example of the UN operating in an upper middle-income country.
The people of Montenegro should take great pride in the transformation of the country in recent years. This transformative change is taking place with clear objectives both on the national and on the international agenda.
Montenegro is committed to close cooperation with the UN and to the UN Charter. We are grateful for your contributions and for your support for our work on peace and security as well as on sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law. These areas are all inter-related and inter-dependent.
Many around the world have also followed your progress in the EU accession process.
I commend the work of Montenegro’s Government and Parliament in strengthening institutions, harmonizing legislation with the European Union, protecting human rights and fostering development.
From the side of the UN, we look forward to working closely with the Montenegrin authorities and other partners for positive results for all the people of this impressive and proud nation with its rich culture and history. This I witnessed yesterday, touring the royal capital of Cetinje, the pride and symbol of Montenegrin independence.
I am privileged to have been the President of the UN General Assembly who welcomed Montenegro as a UN Member State, in the General Assembly in New York, on June 28, 2006.
These premises at the Eco Building represent our shared ambition to work hand-in-hand, in a spirit of trust, transparency and respect.
This path-breaking building is now complete. But in many ways, the process of building, in the deeper sense of the word, continues. We look forward to working with you to build a sustainable future for Montenegro and, by that, contribute to a sustainable region and world for all.