Minister Dačić at the conference “Inviting Suggestions on India’s Priorities for G20 Presidency”
In his address, Minister Dačić emphasised the great influence that the Group of Twenty has in stabilising world trends, primarily in solving pressing issues in the global economy, and commended India's efforts to include other countries in that format, stressing that Serbia can be relied upon as an adequate partner in reaching common goals. Referring to the current situation in the world in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, economic disturbances, and difficulties in the supply of food and energy, Minister Dačić recalled that in 2022, Serbia sent about 300,000 tons of food to the African and Asian countries, showing its readiness to contribute to the normalisation and stabilisation of global flows. He added that a consistent interpretation of international law and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of UN members is key to overcoming crises, and that selective interpretations of international law create dangerous precedents, the consequences of which have a direct negative impact on everyone.
He pointed out that Serbia attaches great importance to the activities within the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and fulfilment of the 17 goals established and confirmed by the United Nations. He added that in 2022 the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the UN signed the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for the period 2021-2025.
The address by Minister Dačić is given below:
At the beginning, let me express my sincere gratitude to our host, Minister of Foreign Affairs of India for the invitation to participate in today’s meeting. On behalf of the Republic of Serbia, I would like to say that it is a great honour to have the opportunity to exchange opinions on current geopolitical challenges and ways to overcome them. The great influence that the Group of Twenty has in stabilising world flows, primarily in resolving pressing issues in the global economy, is one of the preconditions for the normalisation of political conditions worldwide.
India has taken over the presidency of the G20 at a time of increased challenges around the globe, and I wish them much success in carrying out this responsible task. At the same time, I would like to emphasise that Serbia can be relied upon as an adequate partner that is ready to actively contribute in achieving common goals. Serbia sees India’s current initiative to hold this meeting as a kind of indicator of a responsible approach, but also a timely step forward in enabling wider inclusivity, which, I am convinced, will contribute to a better understanding of the current situation on a global level, as well as a more precise definition of measures for overcoming existing problems.
The negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have still not been completely overcome or manifested, and we are facing new, more complex challenges, primarily in the area of security. The complex geopolitical situation is further aggravated by the armed conflict in Ukraine, which has led to significant disruptions in the existing energy infrastructure and problems with food distribution. I would like to take this opportunity to mention that in the first half of 2022, Serbia sent about 300,000 tons of food to the African and Asian countries, showing its readiness to contribute to the normalisation and stabilisation of global flows.
As a representative of a country that, unfortunately, has experience with conflicts and foreign interventions, I must point out that the key to overcoming crises is a consistent interpretation of international law and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of UN member states. Selective interpretations of international law create dangerous precedents and produce consequences that have a direct negative impact on all of us. Increasingly complex challenges very often exceed states’ individual capacities and show that solidarity and joint action are imperative for any collective success. We can agree that peace and stability with unhindered economic development are priority goals which require an inclusive dialogue and, therefore, I repeat that all attempts to build mechanisms to improve communication are extremely welcome.
I consider it important to emphasise that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the fulfilment of the 17 goals established and confirmed by the UN member states is the backbone of Serbia's development activities.
The competent institutions of Serbia carry out activities to achieve jointly established goals in close communication and cooperation with the UN. In this regard, I would like to inform you that in February 2022, the Government of the Republic of Serbia signed the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for the period 2021-2025 with the UN. When we talk about the Western Balkans region, the common link in our foreign policies is the achievement of full EU membership, and we place a great importance on the complementarity of the 2030 Agenda with the EU accession process.
Among the main national development priorities of Serbia, which we also see as a good framework for the countries of the Global South, are economic growth, reducing poverty, better education, healthy environment, and work to eliminate the consequences of climate change. We need a transformation of the economy based on innovation and modern technologies. In doing so, the following should be kept in mind - in order to have a sustainable approach to development, growth must be inclusive, in accordance with the principle “leave no one behind”.
The South-South cooperation is also important to Serbia. I am extremely proud that I personally participated at the high-level UN Conference held in Buenos Aires in March 2019, where Serbia’s determination to intensify communication with the countries involved in this process was highlighted.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We must not ignore the fact that the sustainable development goals represent a special challenge, which is different for each country. Achieving the Goals is especially challenging in a situation where we are still feeling the consequences of the pandemic, while facing different conflicts worldwide, and when regular supply and prices of food and energy are brought into question. All of us should also be concerned with the issue of climate change, which is an issue that is reminding us of the importance of working together. In such circumstances, developing partnerships, primarily at the regional level, is crucial, and strong cooperation with the exchange of experiences and good practices should be imperative in our course of action. Serbia believes that wider connection is the only way to define a joint response to the current international challenges, because partnerships must be built on solid foundations of unity, which requires us to seek the lowest common denominator of everything that unites us.
Finally, I am convinced that our discussion today will contribute to a higher level of mutual understanding, which will allow us to connect more closely. Opening a space for the exchange of ideas, while respecting all the specificities and particularities, is the only true way to define an appropriate approach in eliminating the consequences of the challenges we face. Serbia is in the process of European integration, but it strives to nurture traditional friendships and make them stronger in all areas of mutual interest. The Republic of Serbia is very interested in developing a comprehensive cooperation with all countries of this format. We are firmly committed to connecting and building trust, because only through unity is it possible to reach a worldwide goal - ensuring peaceful, stable, sustainable and prosperous development”.