United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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Intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda
Third session
New York, March 26, 2015
by Valentin RYBAKOV
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Belarus
Results of the open working group on sustainable development goals currently constitute the
key arrangement in the run-up to the summit.
We all, however, understand that, as is the case with any compromise between the interests of
the various parties, the current SDG list, although a very important one, should not perhaps be
regarded as a perfect document. In addition to its volume, the potential difficulty with the
perception of the SDGs is that not all of the issues discussed in the working group have
been reflected in the group’s final document. Belarus, for instance, not only repeatedly
expressed concerns, but also made specific proposals for reflection in the SDGs the issues of the
family as a factor of sustainable development. A number of parties, on the contrary, may not
be entirely satisfied with the inclusion in the list of goals of the topics that have only an indirect
relationship to development.
After all, list of goals is not a sacred text, but rather an assistance tool for governments wishing to
check their priorities and actions against the global average.
In this context the main task of all our countries will be the actual accomplishment of the SDGs
based on national priorities with the help of clear indicators. Whereas the task of the UN
system will be to provide the most effective assistance in bringing the new development
agenda to life.
By approving the new development agenda at the summit, our heads of states and governments
will have to present the SDGs as the most technical part of the agenda with plain human
language. Any globally important issues that concern the peoples of our countries, can be given
due consideration at the summit and its outcomes. Summit’s outcome document should allow
such possibility, weather in the declaration part or in the introduction to the sustainable
development goals and targets. This approach could contribute to the unifying nature of the new
Discussion on future indicators requires a few comments.
First, the work on possible universal indicators that countries may use at their discretion should be
done for reference purposes. We understand that such work has already been launched within the
UN Statistical Commission with participation of national statistical bodies. We invite the Statistical
Commission to give due priority to this work and to report to member states on its progress.
Second, we should carefully examine the extent to which it is possible to have a single set of
indicators, that countries with the variety of their challenges and priorities could use to check their
sustainable development progress. In our view, it would be justified if the relevant UN structures,
Secretariat would ensure the comprehensive support to member states, for example, through
appropriate projects, in developing their national indicators that would be fully reasonable in
view of country priorities.
Let me take this opportunity to inform the participants in the negotiations that Belarus takes
necessary preparatory steps for the adoption and national implementation of the new
sustainable development agenda.
In February, the government of Belarus endorsed the national sustainable development
strategy for the period up to 2030. The strategy was prepared by the government with the
participation of NGOs, business community, academia and international organizations. This
document sets conceptual vision for long-term economic, social and environmental development.
It will serve as a strategic framework for the preparation of national programmes and estimates,
including in the context of the implementation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
In the period prior to the implementation of the new agenda Belarus intends to pursue an active
preparatory work, including in the sphere of capacity building and exchange of experience. In
January 2015, an international conference in Minsk with the participation of UN agencies and
partner countries examined the new perspectives and opportunities of technical cooperation
between Belarus and the United Nations. Later in April, Belarus will host an international
conference on innovative industrial development in middle-income countries. These and
other activities will be focused on the period after 2015, including the future implementation of
the SDGs.