A founding member of the United Nations, Belarus sees the organisation as the core international forum and wants to make the UN more strengthened and united so it is better fit to address major global challenges.
A stalwart supporter of the UN reform process, Belarus regularly participates in all major discussions on this critical matter, including these within ad-hoc working groups on the revitalization of the General Assembly and Security Council reform.
General Assembly Revitalization
Over the last five years, Belarus came up with a number of suggestions about how the UN General Assembly might be strengthened and its activities streamlined.
First, we want to see more GA thematic debates on key global issues to encourage effective brainstorming with private sector and NGOs engaged in the discussions.
To make sure these discussions do not pale into insignificance over time, we suggest that the UN Secretariat carefully follows these debates and comes up with clear vision about how to move forward.
This means each thematic debate should end up with a summery setting out priority measures for the UN in dealing with the issue concerned.
Second, we want to see larger coverage of the GA activities both at the UN website and in major media to make sure there is better balance between the General Assembly and Security Council in making the headlines.
Third, we want to see a door opened for the GA to step in when the Security Council fails to produce agreed decision on how to react in a situation affecting international security.
Fourth, we want to see stronger role of the Office of the GA President in leading the General Assembly’s work and processes.
For that, we stand for larger support, both technical and financial, of the President’s regular activities, especially when she or he is on official visit, and for better institutional memory of the President’s Office secured via permanent staff in the UN Secretariat.
Fifth, we want to see more action in bringing cutting-edge tools when the GA holds elections to different UN bodies. We therefore continually encouraged a rout-and-branch overhaul of how the GA can save time while holding elections (which now can take a day or more) and make the overall process, including that of counting the voting ballots, more efficient.
Our vision about how the GA can be stronger and reformed goes genuinely far beyond, with propositions about streamlining SG reports, GA resolutions and more.
Meanwhile, we work hard to make sure we find enough support among Member States for our vision on the GA revitalization and are now pleased to see many of our suggestions reflected in a number of relevant GA resolutions and better performance of the UN Secretariat.
Security Council Reform
The UN reform will never be a success unless Member States agree over the future of the Security Council. It bears on many aspects of this major UN body, including its membership and working methods.
Our position on the Security Council reform includes three major elements.
First, we believe the working methods of the Security Council require serious update. We think that the Council would be more effective if it let Member States concerned take larger part in the decision making.
It would also help, in our view, if there were more opened meetings of the Security Council for countries that are not members of the Council and if there were a clear timeframe between when the Council considers an international situation and adopts a relevant resolution.
Second, clear distinction between the duties of the General Assembly and Security Council is vital in preventing overlap or encroachment on each other’s capacities.
We believe the Security Council should not intervene into jurisdiction of the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council or Human Right Council, with more transparency in its activities via, inter alia, timely, regular and analytical reports delivered by the President of the Security Council to the GA.
Third, the membership of the Security Council should be changed to reflect major geopolitical changes under the formula that would encompass the interests of as many UN Members States as possible. We think that an additional non-permanent seat should occur for the regional group of Eastern Europe. We also stand for fair representation of Africa in the Security Council at large.
A strong supporter of multilateralism, Belarus seeks to encourage stronger and more coordinated UN action on key global threats through a mechanism of global partnerships.
Multilateral and focused platforms, global partnerships undeniably bring good opportunities to share ideas among interested countries in a straight and prompt fashion and to come up with collective approach about how UN can better act in addressing specific issue.
We look at global partnerships as not just an UN-limited exercise but as a vital instrument of effective global governance in modern international relations.
No matter big or small, global partnerships are best equipped to deliver real international action as it gathers those sharing one goal.
At the United Nations, Belarus continues to be at the forefront of setting up global partnerships. In 2005, we suggested to build a Global Partnership against Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings. Five years on, it culminated in the unanimous adoption of the first ever global plan of action against human trafficking by the General Assembly.
That was followed by a number of crucial GA events and resolutions that Belarus initiated each year since 2005 as part of our long-term strategy on stimulating better international anti-trafficking response.
We went on and in 2010 we offered a new partnership to Help Future Generations Prosper
bearing on children and young people needs while achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
At the UN Summit, Belarus put forward a road map setting out our vision about where UN needs to take stronger action in supporting the youth. We singled out four clusters, including these on supporting talented young people across the world and on heading off the threat of social degradation among youth.
What we proposed to do first in building this partnership was to hold informal thematic debates of the General Assembly to encourage focused discussions about how UN can better protect children and teenagers from drug abuse, binge drinking and aggressive behaviour.
We also made a call to think over a global partnership on climate change against the background of growing concerns over the future of international negotiations on this critical matter. In our view, a global partnership could bring an added value in uniting developed and developing nations in attempt to offer the world fresh ideas on how to move forward on the new climate change deal.
Engagement & Leadership
In many processes that seek to bring better performance across the United Nations, Belarus plays active role.
In particular, we keep a close look at the discussions on raising coherence among the UN agencies, including UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and others, aimed to prevent overlap among them and to secure that they all work in a streamlined and coherent fashion.
We do not shun leadership and boast a number of examples when our leadership paid off. Apart from our fairly recognized contribution in areas of UN anti-trafficking and energy agenda, 2010 goes down as a distinctively successful chairmanship of Belarus in the Committee on Programme and Coordination, subsidiary to the GA and ECOSOC.
Under our chairmanship, the 50th session of the CPC ended up in the adoption by consensus of all 27 thematic programmes, including that on human rights, for the first time in eight years.