Oct 4, 2023

Discussing Slovenia's Development Cooperation Efforts with Mr. Edvin Skrt

Development cooperation is crucial in addressing today's global challenges, from climate to poverty. Despite the 2030 Agenda's goals, progress remains slow. We were happy to talk to Mr. Edvin Skrt, Director-General of the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, about these issues and also look into Slovenia's development efforts for the coming years.

Why is development co-operation crucial for addressing global development challenges and what are some specific initiatives taken by Slovenia to attain sustainable development goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda? 

Today, we are confronted with multiple crises, including climate, food, energy, and financial challenges. The world is lagging behind in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, particularly in achieving key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as ending poverty, eradicating hunger, and promoting gender equality. 

During the SDG Summit held in September, world leaders unanimously agreed to intensify their efforts to navigate our global roadmap out of these crises by 2030. The declaration emphasizes the urgent need for a substantial increase in financing, amounting to $500 billion annually, and expresses strong support for reforming the international financial architecture to better align with today's global economy. 

Slovenia acknowledges its responsibility in addressing poverty, reducing inequality, and promoting sustainable development in partner countries across the Western Balkans, the European neighborhood, and Sub-Saharan Africa. As a developed, responsible, and proactive nation, Slovenia actively participates in shaping policies and measures to address global development challenges. In collaboration with our partners, we contribute to fostering a sustainable, equitable, inclusive, and secure future for all. 

Our thematic priorities encompass I) promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, with a particular focus on good governance, equal opportunities, including gender equality, and providing high-quality education, all of which align with SDGs 8 and 16 and II) Combating climate change, especially through sustainable management of natural and energy resources, in accordance with SDGs 12 and 13. 

Our development cooperation projects prioritize two cross-cutting issues that are deemed essential for comprehensive development: gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as environmental protection. 

We recognize the imperative of strengthening global partnerships for sustainable development and remain committed to increasing ODA as close as possible to 0.33% of GNI. 

How does the CEF fit in Slovenia's development cooperation goals? 

The CEF is a crucial partner of the Republic of Slovenia and one of the leading institutions in the South East Europe region in the fields of public finance management and central banking. Through its collaboration with CEF, Slovenia actively contributes to achieving one of the priorities of international development cooperation and the SDG agenda, which is promoting good governance. 

To be more specific, CEF's activities align with SDG 17 as they foster partnerships with Western Balkans countries, strengthening their capacities in implementing the SDGs. CEF achieves this by developing robust public financial management systems, sharing expertise in good governance, establishing transparent communication systems, and building strong institutions founded on principles of transparency and democracy. 

What specific areas will be the primary focus in the upcoming years for Slovenia‚Äôs development cooperation, in particular in South East Europe, and how do you see the role of the CEF in contributing to set priorities? 

Slovenia strongly supports the enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkans. We provide our Western Balkans partners with political backing and actively support the processes related to enlargement in the region. We share our expertise and experience gained during our own transition and accession to Euro-Atlantic structures. 

Slovenia is committed to strengthening partnerships in the region, with a specific focus on promoting good governance and the rule of law, with the ultimate goal of facilitating EU integration. We will continue our efforts in various areas, including environmental and water management, gender equality and women's empowerment, demining, rehabilitation of mine victims, humanitarian assistance in conflict situations, disaster risk reduction and response, as well as scholarships. 

The CEF is a valuable partner in our development cooperation efforts. It aligns with one of our priority areas, which is promoting good governance, by providing technical assistance and supporting regional dialogue in the field of public finance management. CEF has earned recognition and respect in the region. Slovenia is committed to supporting the expansion of CEF's geographical scope to include the regions in the European Neighbourhood and sub-Saharan Africa that are in most need of its operations.