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Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei at the Signature Ceremony for the Paris Climate Agreement (April 22, 2016, New York)

Despite the solemn character of today's ceremony we should not forget to soberly assess the prospects of implementation of the new agreement and potential problems on this path.

Belarus faced such difficulties already at the stage of the Kyoto Protocol. We were not able to obtain convincing evidence of the effectiveness of its economic mechanisms, let alone to learn it firsthand from our own experience. However, even in this situation Belarus managed to make significant progress. For example, since 1990 we have cut the greenhouse gas emissions by one third while doubling GDP in real terms. The GDP energy-intensity has been reduced threefold, and favourable environment for “green” investments has been created through legislation that secures guarantees and tax incentives for investors. We have preserved and increased natural wealth of the country, especially forests, which by 2030 would constitute 41 per cent of the Belarusian territory.

Belarus has committed to ensure, by 2030, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at least by 28 per cent compared to the level of 1990. We can and we are ready to do more. For this purpose cooperation within the framework of the Paris Agreement should be organised in such a way so that every participant of the process fulfills obligations in good faith and is encouraged to take additional proactive actions on climate improvement and adaptation measures. Cooperation mechanisms should contain clear and easily accessible economic motivation, including through financial and technological assistance. Developed countries should have a special role in encouraging direct investment in environmentally responsible states.

The interconnection of climate and energy issues is beyond question. Comprehensive access to clean technologies and energy efficiency are the key factors of sustainable and environmentally friendly development. Demand for clean energy should be reinforced by real resources and capabilities based on inclusiveness and fair access not only through the Paris Agreement mechanisms, but also in the broader framework of sustainable development agenda.

In this regard we find important to implement a comprehensive approach to energy within the UN taking into account sustainable development goals and climate objectives alike. Belarus believes that this could be done through existing formats such as the Secretary-General’s initiative on Sustainable Energy for All or innovative comprehensive UN energy agenda.

Having signed the Paris Agreement, Belarus has demonstrated its responsibility and will continue to be a climate security donor. That is why we intend to be among the first 55 countries whose ratification will give legal force to the Agreement.