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Belarus offers venue for international dialogue about sustainable development

Politics 19.12.2017 | 13:54
Parliamentary hearings in progress
Parliamentary hearings in progress

MINSK, 19 December (BelTA) – Belarus offers a venue of its own for an international dialogue about sustainable development. Belarusian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Dapkiunas made the statement during parliamentary hearings on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament on 19 December, BelTA has learned.

The official said: “Just like when the SDGs were being developed, now when work to reach the SDGs is in progress, we believe that Belarus can be something more than a regular participant of this process. We can offer our experience of multilateral diplomacy, our ideas, and, at last, a venue of our own for an international dialogue about sustainable development.”

According to Andrei Dapkiunas, taking into account this vision of its possible role Belarus intends to host the first regional high-level forum for national SDG coordinators from European and CIS states in Minsk in February 2018. Top officials of governments, various agencies and institutions in charge of overseeing national efforts to reach the SDGs have been invited to participate in the forum. “We hope that the UN deputy secretary-general will be the key international guest,” said Andrei Dapkiunas.

The forum is scheduled to take place in Minsk on 21-22 February. During the forum the participating states are expected to present their experience and their understanding of the way to fulfill the 2030 Agenda. The discussion will allow the participants to better understand common problems and hardships on this way in addition to discussing measures to overcome these obstacles. Results of the work and recommendations may be presented later during a regional sustainable development forum of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

“To work for the benefit of the nation and for the benefit of the international community. Bearing the two goals in mind, we intend to shape our international efforts with regard to sustainable development. We intend to use the international mechanisms of getting aid as much as possible, including technical aid, in order to support the national system for coordinating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” assured Andrei Dapkiunas.

In his words, Belarus suggests that partners, including the UN and the UNDP, should consider the possibility of a larger project to provide technical aid for achieving sustainable development. Ways to present Belarus' experience and capabilities for the benefit of other countries and partners can be suggested via this project. “The idea of cooperation coordination can become the center piece for establishing a mutually beneficial international dialogue for reaching the SDGs. We can do more than that. We can start thinking today about the agenda of more distant events, for instance, the probable UN summit in 2020. The summit may be focused on evaluating the first stage of fulfillment of the sustainable development agenda,” said the Belarusian deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Taking into account Belarus' experience in the UN the country could offer ideas and content for this process, which will be launched sooner or later to replace the 2030 Agenda, Andrei Dapkiunas is convinced.

On 25 September 2015 the UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It contains a number of goals meant to end poverty, preserve the planet's resources, and ensure universal prosperity. Each of the 17 goals contains a number of targets, which are to be hit within 15 years. For instance, the SDGs include gender equality, zero hunger, quality education, decent work and economic growth, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, responsible consumption and production, and other things.

Belarus has already taken a number of important steps to reach the SDGs. In particular, the government adopted a national strategy of sustainable social and economic development for the period till 2030. The head of state appointed Marianna Shchetkina, Vice Speaker of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus, national coordinator for reaching the SDGs.

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