05 October 2022/
On behalf of the Belgrade 2022 Chairmanship-In-Office, Mr Pavle Jankovic, Member of the Committee of Senior Officials, delivered a speech at the 5th Anniversary Reception.
It is a pleasure to be here. The Executive Director just told me half an hour ago that I was supposed to give a speech, so unlike the last time, I don’t have a prepared page, but I will try to put something together.
It is no small feat to celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of our Fund. I consider myself privileged to have been in this story from its very inception in 2012. In 2012, we had a visit from Minister Schwarzenberg of the Czech Republic, who basically planted this idea into the mind of our Minister, and so the Minister called me up and said, look, you know your Czech People because I’m a quarter Czech, your people came here and had this wonderful idea, could you take care of it?
And so, from then on, my story with the idea of the Western Balkans Fund began. Putting the Western Balkan Contracting Parties together to create an actual institution between ourselves was no small feat.
Anyone who knows this Region knows how difficult that was. Yet we went on from success to success, and finally, in 2017, the Fund as we know it today came to be.
Dr Murra and I have been sitting together often together and thinking and dreaming of how this Fund would develop and to look at these statistics, look at five Calls for Proposals, look at more than a hundred projects funded, more than four thousand stakeholders or partners, more than twenty thousand people actually positively impacted by the work of our Fund, that is something that should give all of us huge praise and an incentive to continue the work of our Fund, together with the support of the partners who have seen what we can do, this is truly an honour.
To serve our Region is also a privilege. I see the Western Balkans Fund as a beacon that keeps shining the lights, and it lights the like-minded minds that are taking part in improving and, I would say, fixing our Region for the better.
And please remember something, whenever you do something good for each other in this Region, we are actually doing it for ourselves. So happy anniversary, and let us continue this wonderful work of the Western Balkans Fund and our togetherness in this Region.
Thank you so much.