Environment, sustainable development, development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Environment and Climate Change
Climate has its natural variability over time, but the mankind – through the emissions of greenhouse gases – has caused an unprecedented increase in global temperature in recent decades. Climate change is now one of the biggest threats to humanity. It is no longer avoidable, so we should respond to it appropriately and in a timely manner. Slovenia contributes to combating climate change at both national and international levels.
At the international level Slovenia works as a member of the EU towards an ambitious, legally binding and fair agreement to be reached at a global level within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In this sense Slovenia associated itself with the Copenhagen Accord after the Copenhagen conference in 2009, and in 2010 joined the REDD+ Partnership (REDD+: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation + Preservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries).
Slovenia welcomes the results of the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, which concluded with compromise in the form of an extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 and the decision to start negotiations on a legally binding agreement of all countries. For the first all countries committed to take action demanded by the science. Negotiations on the new agreement that is to succeed the Kyoto Protocol are expected to conclude by 2015 and the agreement should step into force in 2020.
Slovenia pledged 8 million EUR of fast start finance for the period 2010-2012. Nearly half a million EUR have been directed in activities for addressing climate change in developing countries in 2010. We continue to identify possible projects in cooperation with partner countries and programming based on national priorities.
Slovenia is committed to fulfilling its commitments for fast start financing. Developing countries around the world need support in combating climate change, therefore a great effort will be put into effectively using our share of financing in prioritized areas:
- Sustainable Forest Management
- Transfer of Technology
- Adaptation actions
- Education and training
- Low Carbon Strategies
- Monitoring, Reporting and Verification
Dr Lučka Kajfež Bogataj of Slovenia is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The Green Group was launched on Slovenia's initiative in 2009 and comprises six small countries (Costa Rica, Iceland, Cape Verde, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Slovenia), which are united in the cause of emphasizing the significance of environmental issues in international relations. Through joint statements in different foras and events, the Group aims to draw attention to the importance of fighting climate change, the water issue, which is becoming an increasingly important topic in international relations, and the need to introduce renewable sources.
Prior to the Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban climate change Conferences, the Green Group ministers had published different articles related to the questions of mitigation and adaptation to the climate change. Ministers also met on the margins of the UN General Assembly and endorsed different joint activities of the Green Group and proposed a number of concrete steps for the future work of the Group.
Sustainable development, seen as the balance between fulfilling human needs of economic and social development and the protection of the natural environment, was brought to the mainstream at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It is an urgent issue, which needs to be looked beyond national boundaries in order to ensure that the needs of future generations will not be compromised.
At the Earth Summit the countries adopted Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan of action to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.
Efforts to promote sustainable development were additionally strengthened at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which took place in Johannesburg in 2002. The summit concluded with important commitments to improve the lives of people and reverse the degradation of the global environment. It strongly reaffirmed the full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles.
Slovenia and Rio+20
Slovenia believes that Rio+20 offers a unique opportunity for our mutually interdependent world to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. It will assess progress made and address implementation gaps and emerging challenges. It will do so in the context of two intertwined themes: "A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" and "The institutional framework for sustainable development".
Rio+20 can mark the start of an accelerated and profound, world-wide transition towards a green economy – an economy that generates growth, creates jobs and eradicates poverty by investing in and preserving the natural capital offers upon which the long-term survival of our planet depends. It can also launch the needed reform of international sustainable development governance.
Slovenia is determined to contribute to the success of Rio+20 and in this regard works closely with all international partners and major stakeholders.
Slovenia is a member of the informal Group of Friends for sustainable cities, which is co-chaired by Sweden and Singapore. The Group is leading a dialogue on the critical role of cities and importance of urban development for achieving sustainable development.
Development cooperation involves efforts of countries, aimed at improving lives of the world’s inhabitants and alleviating poverty, promoting sustainable development, preventing conflicts and improving access to health care, social development and education. Within the last two decades, the United Nations have formed a sound platform for the promotion and realization of key development goals, based on Millennium Development Goals, the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development, the outcome of the 2005 World Summit and others.
Slovenia is committed to a timely and full realization of the Millennium Development Goals. Pursuing the goals of equitable economic growth and sustainable development are the key to global prosperity.
Slovenia is becoming an increasingly active actor in the field of development cooperation. In other words, we have become part of a process, the aim of which is the shaping of a world, built on global stability and safety, social and human rights and balanced sustainable development.
The international development cooperation programme of the Republic of Slovenia has been included among Slovenia’s foreign policy priorities. International development cooperation is regulated by the International Development Cooperation of the Republic of Slovenia Act, adopted in June 2006. The Act defines the objectives and methods of long-term planning, financing and implementation of international development cooperation of Slovenia.
In July 2008, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Resolution on International Development Cooperation of the Republic of Slovenia until 2015. The Resolution sets out the geographical and sector-specific priorities for Slovenia's international development cooperation until 2015, along with mechanisms for its implementation.
In terms of content, Slovenian development assistance focuses on the following:
- Strengthening of good governance, the rule of law and social services (with particular emphasis on respect for human rights of women and children, education, and scholarships);
- Protecting the environment with a focus on sustainable water management;
- Women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue of development cooperation.
Slovenia has been steadily increasing its official development assistance, and is committed to working toward the level of 0.7% of gross national income set by the UN. Over half of the development funds are given to multilateral initiatives and the rest is distributed in the framework of bilateral assistance, including to the countries of the Western Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Slovenia, as is the case with other donor countries, contributes its resources to international development organizations.
Projekt "École Communale de la République de Slovénie"
One of the recent most important projects undertaken by the Government of Slovenia was 2011 opening of a school in the Port au Prince suburb of Carrefour, Haiti. The school, named after Slovenia as the École Communale de la République de Slovénie, is composed of modular units which provide for six classrooms and a library. In the schoolyard there is a playground with various elements and a basketball court. Almost three hundred children who lost their homes in a catastrophic earthquake almost two years ago and were thus forced to forget about life in the school playground are now beginning a new era of learning and widening their horizons with their schoolmates.
With the 'Slovenia for the Children of Haiti' project and with the establishment of the school, Slovenia is achieving an international development cooperation objective, i.e. providing aid to children as the most vulnerable population group, and contributing to the attainment of the second Millennium Development Goal.
Slovenia is a member of the informal Group of Friends of Lest Developed Countries, which is co-chaired by Belgium and Turkey.
The basic objectives of humanitarian aid and post-conflict assistance of Slovenia as defined by the Resolution on International Development Cooperation for the period until 2015 particularly include:
- Reduction of poverty and hunger;
- Mine action;
- Assistance to children in post-conflict situations.
The Resolution also stipulates that the Republic of Slovenia will commit about 10% of its development assistance to humanitarian and post-conflict aid programmes. These funds are divided into regular assistance (75%) and emergency assistance (25%).
Slovenia channels a large portion of its humanitarian aid through international humanitarian organizations, particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Caritas Internationalis, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP).
In terms of support for the UN humanitarian effort, Slovenia continuously contributes funds to the Office of the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
Slovenia supports humanitarian action of rehabilitation and health care provided to Palestinian children injured in armed conflicts. In the project carried out by the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) and the Soča University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, more than 90 children have participated so far.
In 2011, a group of 28 people with disabilities, victims of the armed conflicts in Libya, was provided with rehabilitation services at the Soča University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia.
Slovenia donated humanitarian aid to Libya and neighboring countries, where larger number of Libya’s population sought shelter.
Slovenia responded to the famine crises in the countries of the Horn of Africa in 2011. It contributed 50.000 EUR in the form of food through the World Food Programme (WFP). The aid for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia was a part of the earmarked funds within the framework programme of International Development Cooperation for 2011 which Slovenia channels annually through the WFP for aid in the form of food for ongoing food crises. Slovenian non-governmental organizations also took part in the collection of aid for affected populations. Among other they collected funds in the action “Against Hunger. For the Children of Somalia!” for the project of purchasing milk powder for 1.500 families or at least 9.000 people in the area of three villages in Somalia.
Slovenia also responded to humanitarian and reconstruction appeals following natural and humanitarian disasters in St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2011.
Development Expert at the Permanent Mission
Mr. Tadej Furlan, Counselor
Tel: (212) 370 3007, ext. 19