Statement by Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov at the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 26 September 2009
This General Assembly room is actually a situation room of the world. It seems to me that over the past years we in this room have come to a collective understanding and knowledge of what is to be done. The main thing now is to agree on how we should act. We all need an effective tool.
There is hope that we are also close to the common understanding of how and with the help of what tool we could achieve our common goals. To lead the international community out of a train of multiple crises, to overcome multidimensional new threats we need a tool of a policy of partnership.
Modern international relations are evermore being built along the pattern of horizontal networks. These networks involve all interested and constructive stakeholders in today's world — states, big and small, international organisations, civil society, private sector. Partnerships are a mechanism of engagement which, in the opinion of Belarus, does not have a sensible alternative in conditions of a pluralistic and contradictory world.
A special political factor that raises hope that this approach is realistic is an emerging meeting of minds — of various forces all over the world that have come to sense in partnerships a link, grabbing which one can pull out the whole chain.
In the way of illustration I can cite a call made by Belarus from this rostrum two years ago to change over from the systems based on opposition and confrontation to new international systems based on engagement and partnership. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, opening the 63rd session of the General Assembly a year ago, noted that 'nations can no longer protect their interests, or advance the well-being of their people, without the partnership of the rest'. The United States has declared its readiness to 'build partnerships and solve problems that no nation can solve on its own'. The European Union has addressed this General Assembly with the 'message of cooperation and partnership'. The President of Russia spoke from this rostrum about a 'unifying agenda' dictated by life itself.
It looks like — after a long break — the world is starting to think in the same frame of mind organised along the lines of security, partnership and development. It looks like the world political leaders are beginning to speak the same language — the language of reason.
I think that the intention of twenty largest world economies to unite their resources to lead the world out of the global crisis is also as an important proof of the principled readiness to walk the path of partnerships. The same would apply to the summits of some regional and sub-regional economic and political groups of states held in recent months.
In an aside, I have to say on a less optimistic note that implementation of these agreements by their parties themselves hangs in midair, for instance, on the issue of renouncing the use and dismantling already existing measures of protectionism in international trade.
It should also be noted that the G20 format, let alone G8, is too narrow to be a representative partnership. In this regard engagement of economic regional groupings of states with significant potential — for example, speaking of our region, Eurasian Economic Community - would make this format a more adequate partnership.
We also believe in the great potential for dialogue and partnership between the Non-Aligned Movement and other major centres of power. This idea was discussed at the recent 15th NAM Summit in Egypt. After all, today's Non-Aligned Movement is a significant international factor. NAM members make their tangible contribution to international security and are important actors in the global social and economic performance.
Today I address my colleagues from the European Union, the United States, Russia and other developed countries and call on them to display their leadership in dealing with global challenges of unprecedented scale — and to do it in a partner like way, in close contact and coordination with all members of the international community, including Belarus. I propose to the members of the international community, especially to the world centres of power and leading political groupings, to materialise their good intentions in global partnerships and crisis strategies.
Role of the United Nations
The greatest potential for responding to global threats and challenges is to be found here, in the United Nations. As a founding member of the Organisation, Belarus is sure of the ability of the United Nations to play a leading role in generating relations of partnership in order to overcome most acute global problems.
Was it not under the aegis of the United Nations after the tragic events of 9/11 that the basis was laid for the establishment of the anti-terrorism coalition and elaboration of a counter-terrorism strategy? By the way, should the United Nations consider proclaiming September 11th the Day of Fight Against Terrorism? We would be interested in hearing the reaction of states to this idea.
Have not the successes of the General Assembly backed New Partnership for Africa's Development been acknowledged world over? The Millennium Development Goals have been formulated in the context of a forming global partnership for development.
The United Nations' capability is strengthened with some of our advances in its reform. In this regard I would like to make a particular note of such positive new element of its work as thematic debates of the General Assembly.
Building upon the experience and potential of the United Nations Belarus put forward the initiative of establishing one of the global thematic partnerships — partnership against human trafficking and slavery in the 21st century. For now it is an informal mechanism that took its initial shape at the Vienna Forum against Human Trafficking in February 2008. To make it work effectively, it has to be institutionalised. I stress, not bureaucratised but institutionalized. This can be achieved through the elaboration and adoption by the General Assembly of the Global Plan of Action Against Human Trafficking.
The idea of this plan got wide support at the thematic dialogue in the General Assembly in May 2009. We have also heard this support from the high participants of this general debate. We welcome the recent decision of the President of the 63rd session of the General Assembly to appoint the distinguished Permanent Representatives of Cape Verde and Portugal as co-facilitators of the consultations on the global plan and we call on all our friends and partners, all delegations of the UN Member-States to engage actively in this work.
Energy of tomorrow
Global economic development is always driven by a certain 'motor' — the outgoing model of which is always replaced with a new, more efficient engine.
For example, coal and steel were such engine for the era of industrial revolution. For the post-WWII global economy it was oil which was replaced in 1990's with information technologies. The economic engine of the last decade was finance.
It is absolutely obvious that the global crisis has demonstrated the need to replace the outdated financial 'engine' driving the modern economic development. What can and should replace it?
We believe that there will not be a single 'engine' in the future but a number of factors, although with a leading role of green — clean — technologies. It cannot be otherwise in conditions of increasing interdependence of energy and environment and their determining role for the global survival and economy.
This year we face an especially momentous task — elaboration of new post-Kyoto agreements to deal with global warming. Universal proliferation of new and renewable sources of energy should become their integral element.
This issue was discussed in depth at the thematic dialogue of the General Assembly held in June 2009. This is a good beginning. Yet we have to move decisively further. We believe that increasing topicality of the energy and environment agenda requires the elaboration of a specific partnership - a global mechanism to improve access of developing countries and countries with economy in transition to technologies of new and renewable sources of energy.
We need a clear algorithm of coordinated action of key international stakeholders to ensure wider and universal use of advanced energy technologies, of new and renewable sources of energy in the interests of the entire international community, to ensure the achievement of the MDGs.
Let us not shelve this issue. We need to lay the foundation for a substantive breakthrough already at this session of the General Assembly. Belarus is going to initiate a comprehensive study of this issue with the involvement of leading international experts and inclusion of the results of this work, conclusions and recommendations in the future report of the Secretary-General.
We believe in current conditions that strengthening of economic potential and political role of middle-income countries could be yet another 'motor' of economic and social progress. It is quite evident that resources and capacity of a narrow circle of traditional world leaders are insufficient for overcoming the crisis. The greatest potential for growth rests with the states of 'moderate means'. To a certain extent, one could draw a parallel here with the key importance of middle class for stable economic and political development of states. It is not accidental that the majority of US and European companies turn their eyes to the Asian and other developing world markets.
Mindful of such importance, let alone the mere numerical strength of this group of countries which includes more than 100 states, the United Nations system has to take on a proactive role. Understanding this, last year Belarus together with her partners initiated the adoption of the General Assembly resolution 63/223 'Development cooperation with middle-income countries'.
This year for the first time within these walls a substantive discussion was held on how to make the best use of the capacity of the UN system to assist such countries in dealing with their specific and particularly important for the sustainable global development social and economic problems.
I would like to express my hope that the work of the General Assembly in this field will not be regarded through the trite prism of competition for scarce resources of the donor community and the United Nations. The real point is that the larger is the number of economically prosperous states in the world, the stronger and more predictable is the world economy, the fewer are crises and cataclysms. More opportunities for economic growth of poor countries and increase in the development assistance will be created. In the long run, everyone is going to be a winner.
Kyoto and Copenhagen
I cannot but turn to the subject of Kyoto and post-Kyoto which is a kind of a tuning fork of the current session of the General Assembly. The possible outcome of the Copenhagen meeting is, unfortunately, not quite clear. All of us — big, medium-size and small states — have to do our utmost to ensure its success. But the perfect does not have to be the enemy of the good.
Belarus is the only state in the world which for several years has been trying to achieve what is, at the first glance, a paradoxical goal — to assume significant commitments on reducing harmful emissions. The commitments we take upon ourselves happen to be more significant than those of many of our neighbours and even some EU countries. I will put it in a blunt and straightforward way, since we are all partners here — we do not understand why many states and powerful groups of states, that are, by the way, leading in the post-Kyoto advocacy, do not allow us to assume legally binding and significant Kyoto commitments.
I address this call to partners and colleagues — if we want to strengthen the Kyoto arrangement, let us not undermine it. I sincerely hope that the call of Belarus for speedier ratification of her Kyoto amendment will be heeded.
In a year's time New York will host the UN Summit of 2010. This is the only forum which unites the Heads of State and Government of G8, G20, EU, NAM, CIS and others. Belarus proposes to regard the 2010 summit as a summit of partnerships - the venue for putting forward and acting upon the ideas about global partnerships.
Belarus supports the intention of the President of the 64th session of the General Assembly to start preparation for the summit well in advance. At the summit itself we propose to adopt at the level of the Heads of State and Government a mechanism, an algorithm or a plan of close cooperation of Member-States for the years to come on how to overcome global challenges. In the next few months delegations could make their suggestions as to the substance of such document. Negotiations on the document could start in January 2010.
Sixty-five years after the signing of the UN Charter we can and should make an honourable attempt to 'return to the roots' by restoring the original meaning in the attribute 'United' in the name of our Organisation.
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