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12 May 2023, 14:53

Lukashenko responds to UN secretary general's invitation to attend SDG Summit 2023

The Palace of Independence is the seat of the president of the Republic of Belarus. An archive photo
The Palace of Independence is the seat of the president of the Republic of Belarus. An archive photo

MINSK, 12 May (BelTA) – The invitation to participate in a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) summit sent by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has been received, the press service of the Belarusian head of state told BelTA.

The SDG summit will take place in September 2023. “Halfway through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is time to face facts. Without a dramatic increase in commitment, solidarity and transformative action, we will miss the central goals of the 2030 Agenda to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and protect the environment,” reads the letter sent by the UN secretary general. “I count on your support in securing the breakthroughs our world desperately needs.”

Antonio Guterres noted that multiple crises of the past three years have dealt a serious blow to efforts to achieve the SDGs. Nevertheless, the changes envisioned remain possible and necessary.

“The SDG summit will be the centerpiece of a number of events, including the Climate Summit, a high-level dialogue on financing for development, a series of meetings on healthcare, and a ministerial meeting in preparation for the Summit of the Future 2024. The SDG summit could be the moment when our world transitions from fear to hope and from deepening pessimism to accelerated action. I look forward to your personal participation in the summit and your contribution to making it a turning point for the SDGs,” the UN secretary general noted.

Antonio Guterres. Photo courtesy of Xinhua
Antonio Guterres. Photo courtesy of Xinhua

Aleksandr Lukashenko has sent a response letter to Antonio Guterres.

“Minsk fully welcomes this initiative. We believe that the upcoming event is a good opportunity to summarize intermediate results of our common efforts. The Republic of Belarus is fully committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, they are effectively integrated into our national strategic documents.”

“I am convinced that Belarus' experience in effective organization of work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level will be interesting and useful for many other UN member states. We are undoubtedly ready to share it during the summit.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also emphasized the importance of making the summit a source of ideas and initiatives that contribute to the elimination of problems on the way to achieving the SDGs: “You quite rightly noted that ‘multiple crises of the past three years have dealt a serious blow to efforts to achieve the SDGs'. It is now clear that there can be no sustainable development in the world without peace. I said it back in 2015 when I was speaking at the UN summit that adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. You have also repeatedly voiced a similar idea.”

“Belarus' history is full of sad recollections of the war. And this is why we treasure peace not only in our own land, but also on the regional and global scale. For the past few years we have been actively calling on all states to engage in a comprehensive dialogue on security in order to form the basis for building a new, fair world order. Does it take a global catastrophe that will claim lives of millions of people for us to be heard? Amidst growing geopolitical confrontation on the planet, dialogue in the true spirit of San Francisco is needed today more than ever since the end of the Cold War.”

The president stressed that the forthcoming summit should clearly identify a mutual connection between peace and sustainable development, thus giving an impulse towards starting a global dialogue on security.

“A serious challenge to the common cause of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is unilateral coercive measures or sanctions. These voluntaristic actions that contradict international law and are enforced by a group of Western states, which is limited by its own self-interest and prejudices, directly destroy progress towards achieving the SDGs. For example, how can poverty and hunger be eliminated if sanctions undermine global food security and therefore increase the scale of poverty and hunger to entire regions and even continents? Sanctions have become weapons. They are capable of killing!”

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Antonio Guterres for the invitation to attend the summit and assured Belarus would actively contribute to its organization and would take part in this important event at a decent level.

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