Visiting Belarus visa-free

Statement by His Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Mr. Vladimir Makei in the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (September 25, 2013, New-York)

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Presidency of the Commonwealth of Independent States that the Republic of Belarus holds this year.
 
At the turn of the millennium, the international community adopted epic decisions on development. The Millennium Declaration and the final documents of the major UN conferences and summits in the social, economic and related fields have formed an ambitious global development agenda. These arrangements were meant to drastically change the situation on the globe for the better.
 
We are rapidly approaching the day when we will have to take a final stock of the extent to which this agenda has been implemented. First and foremost, every state concerned has to do this at its national level.
 
Within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States every effort is made to achieve the benchmarks set forth in the Millennium Declaration. Economic cooperation, which is a priority for the CIS countries, forms a solid basis in order to perform this task. CIS strategic documents in the economic field provide for the use of competitive advantages of the Commonwealth states in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, mining and processing of natural resources for the sake of sustainable development. Economic cooperation has enabled the CIS states in general to overcome successfully the consequences of the world financial and economic crisis and is currently aimed at forming an interstate innovative space. In this context, an interstate programme on innovation cooperation until 2020 has been adopted and is already in force. An important contributive factor for the achievement of MDG’s is the implementation of the Free Trade Zone Treaty set to create conditions for the free flow of goods and services and the integration of the CIS countries into the world economy and international trade system.
 
A long-term and strategically important field of cooperation within the CIS is transport, transport infrastructure and use of transit capabilities. We consider it important that the process of achievement of MDG’s include, as a priority, modernising and improvement of transport infrastructure in order to facilitate sustainable development.
 
We realise that various countries of the world implement the Millennium Development goals at a different pace. Secretary-General’s relevant reports testify to that. Particular attention in this context is required to the most vulnerable groups of countries. International community’s assistance in this case is absolutely crucial. Such assistance and more coordinated efforts of the UN development system should, however, embrace the broadest possible circle of the countries that need it, including some countries of the CIS.
 
In the short period remaining until 2015, a number of factors can influence the whole picture of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We think that a key factor here is the fulfillment by all parties of the existing commitments related to financing for development.
 
As another important factor essential to attaining the MDGs we see effective partnerships in different specific areas, including partnerships that bring on board middle-income countries. This group of states can and should play the role of a bridge between traditional donors and recipients of assistance in terms of exchange of experience and best development practices.
 
Another thematic partnership, in our view, can be based on the issues of environmental protection and energy, including development of alternative (renewable) sources of energy which cut across different aspects of sustainable development. We think it is necessary that these issues should be dealt with in a more strategic, comprehensive and long-term manner.
 
Beginning today the process of assessment of implementation of the MDGs, we should also give the most serious thought to the future global development agenda.
 
The year 2015 should be approached not only with the MDG commitments met to the fullest possible extent, but also with the carefully considered proposals for the ensuing sustainable development agenda. It is good that many structures and processes in the UN system have already started working to that end. We are certain that all levels involved in the preparation of the post-2015 development agenda – global, regional, and national – must work with the single objective in mind – to lay ground for a successful UN summit on sustainable development in two years’ time in order to inaugurate serious and realistic commitments in the framework of a new and bold international development agenda.