United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Belarus and Serbia

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Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
Sixth session
New York, 12 December 2013
by Mr. Valentin RYBAKOV
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Belarus
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the constituency of the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Serbia.
In this intervention I will outline our position on the four topics that the Group deliberates on this week.
Global governance, human rights, the right to development
First, let me dwell on the set of issues that are placed at the end of the agenda, namely, global governance, human rights, and the right to development.
What is global governance about? We see a two-fold role for it. First, in the world that has no global government, global governance is the framework to reconcile and manage often quite diverse interests of multiple global stakeholders. Second, global governance is a forum for action on the part of those stakeholders against an ever-rising host of transnational threats and challenges.
We firmly believe that a system of governance must be inclusive, rule-based, equitable, non-discriminatory and transparent. Ideally, a system of global governance should function like the “hub” and “spokes”, that is, the United Nations at the center connecting to itself all other global stakeholders.
As far as human rights are concerned, we think that this issue should have adequate presence in the post-2015 development agenda. However, Belarus and Serbia do not believe that it will be possible to have a stand-alone goal here. Therefore, human rights, in our view, must be a cross-cutting issue that relates to all future SDGs.
Global Partnership for Achieving Sustainable Development
Global partnerships become an increasingly effective tool in addressing global challenges. Indeed, in today’s world a state-driven approach cannot effectively deal with the problems that, as former Secretary-General Kofi Annan once eloquently put it, “do not recognize borders”.
This, in turn, necessitates active engagement on the part of not just traditional players, which are states and international organizations, but also of civil society and private sector. The idea of a Global Partnership was present in the MDG agenda, even as a separate goal, but we think the tool has not been utilized to the full. This must be rectified in the context of the post-2015 agenda. As a matter of fact, a Global Partnership that brings together global stakeholders with their assets will be the means of the future agenda’s implementation.
Needs of Countries in Special Situations
With regard to the issue touching upon the needs of countries in special situations, we proceed from the assumption that all groups in the UN have their legitimate interests, which, however, should not encroach on the interests of others. It is extremely difficult to strike a balance here, as negotiations on some draft resolutions testify, but, unfortunately, we have no other option but continue doing this, because there is no short-cut to multilateral diplomacy.
As middle-income countries, Belarus and Serbia naturally speak for the interests of this particular group. We believe that this group finds itself today in a more disadvantaged position than others. I am not going to expatiate on challenges faced by MICs, they are well known. What I rather want to articulate loud and clear is that it is the only group of countries among those that still receive international assistance that has no comprehensive tool guiding patterns of UN system’s cooperation with it.
Science and Technology, Knowledge-Sharing and Capacity Building
Finally, a few words on the cluster of issues related to science and technology, knowledge-sharing and capacity building. They are of paramount importance to sustainable development.
Indeed, there is still as large a technological gap between developed and the rest of the world as it has consistently been since the onset of the Industrial Revolution two centuries ago. That is why the post-2015 agenda must vigorously seek to turn things around in this area.
We also strongly believe that environmental dimension of sustainable development and green economy in the post-2015 period must be characterized by the responsiveness to country needs, promoting a strong science-policy interface, capacity-building and technology support and provision of secure, stable, adequate and predictable financial resources.
With this in mind, Belarus and Serbia advocate a stand-alone goal for science and technology bolstered by a number of targets. In our firm belief, one of the targets should be aligned to achieving universal access to sustainable technologies.