24 July 2012

Secretary-General's remarks during visit to Sustainable Work Initiative for a Healthier Tomorrow (SWIFT) Centre (Roma Cooperative) [as prepared for delivery]

I am glad to have had this opportunity to see the important work being carried out here at the SWIFT centre.  I thank all the local officials and national and international partners who have worked together to make this project possible.

Above all, it is the employees of this cooperative who are bringing it to life.

You are doing many important things at once: promoting sustainable development; creating economic opportunity; improving health; and protecting minorities and advancing their inclusion in society.

The United Nations is glad to be your partner.  We were here during the turbulent years of the 1990s.  And we are here as the region continues to undergo a positive transformation toward reconciliation and cooperation for the common good.

This project is an excellent example of what we can do together.

I am pleased to know that through this cooperative, workers can obtain legal documents and gain better access to education and social services.

Your efforts are also supporting government priorities such as the Millennium Development Goals and accession to the European Union.

It is a measure of your success that the cooperative was profitable within its first year - and that this model is being expanded to other locations in Serbia and beyond.  You are not only providing jobs and steady income; you are giving people hope. 

I wish you continued success and pledge the continued support of the UN family.  Now I would like to hear more from you.  Thank you again for welcoming me here today.