Global Goals offer ‘special opportunity’ to change course of development, Bosnian leader tells General Assembly

UN Photo/Cia Pak Željko Komšić, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly’s General Debate. (24 September 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The world now has “a special opportunity to change the course of development”, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina told the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate on Tuesday.

From the podium, Željko Komšic spoke at length about the 2030 Agenda  and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sharing his country’s enthusiasm about creating “a self-sustaining environment that will benefit everyone”.

In July, his country attended the UN High-level Political Forum in New York where, for the first time, it presented its voluntary national review as part of monitoring SDGs implementation.

“By adopting the 2030 Agenda, Bosnia and Herzegovina has committed itself to initiating a systematic monitoring and supervision process for the implementation of this global agenda that integrates the social, economic and environmental dimension of development” he said, adding that its successful implementation “requires an agreement on foreseeable coherent and sufficient funding”.

Mr. Komšic said that his country views the 2030 transformative agenda as “an opportunity and a mechanism of change”, to “comprehensively promote the social, economic and environmental aspects of the life of our population”.

And he expressed his hope that the review of his nations’ implementation activities will be finalized by the end of 2019.

Regional concerns

Bilateral relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours are at the top of the country’s foreign policy priorities and serve as the foundation for continuous cooperation improvement, “based on mutual interest and the principal of equality, respect for one another and respect for State sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Mr. Komšic explained.

However, he pointed out that within his country’s borders, he “occasionally witnesses” neighbouring nations’ activities, which cause “unrest and a degree of destabilization” that do not contribute to good neighbourly relations.

Peaceful solutions

Expressing concern over the ongoing escalation of world violence, Mr. Komšic called for “an end of combat” and more cooperation on peaceful solutions.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina has the principal view that the protection of civilians, respect for human rights and humanitarian law are a necessary priority in international relations”, he said, adding that his country prioritizes lasting peace and security in “all parts of the world”.

He singled out the importance of a world without nuclear weapons as the “ultimate goal”, saying that Bosnia and Herzegovina focuses on fulfilling its commitments with an emphasis on dialogue, and non-proliferation cooperation.

Turning to peacekeeping, Mr. Komšic said that his country welcomes the UN’s commitment to support the participation of women in peacekeeping missions, pointing out “with particular pleasure” that Bosnia and Herzegovina is “one of the few countries that has been fulfilling its stated goals for a long time” – with over 20 per cent of women participating in peacekeeping missions.

He informed the Hall that in January his country signed the agreement on the suppression of sexual exploitation and abuse, which obliges Bosnia and Herzegovina to hold everyone responsible for all forms of sexual exploitation in UN peacekeeping or other humanitarian operations with zero tolerance for “this type of deviant behaviour”.       

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