Belarus: Agenda - 2030. The future of our planet is in our hands

Feb 6, 2018

In 2015, after the representatives of 193 countries, at the United Nations meeting approved the agenda - 2030, which proclaimed 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, humanity has received a unique chance to work together, to improve life in all corners of the world.

17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), replaced the 8 Millennium Development Goals, to achieve the majority of which the international community planned within 15 years, starting from 2000. At the end of 2015, the UN summed up the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, many of which have been met: the percentage of people living below the poverty line had almost halved, the infant and maternal mortality had almost halved also, much progress had been made in combating diseases such as HIV and malaria, the amount of financial assistance provided by developed countries has more than doubled.

These successes to a large extent relate to Belarus. By 2015, the share of the poor has declined 8 times. Primary education today is public and inclusive. Belarus has made progress in increasing the participation of women in decision-making and actively promotes the application of the principles of gender equality: today, 40% of the legislative power is represented by women deputies, 55% of the leadership positions are held by women throughout the country. Maternal mortality has reduced by 18 times, and children's (up to 5 years) - 4 times. The country has achieved a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and the consumption of ozone-depleting substances over the past five years has been reduced by 50%. Carbon intensity of the economy has decreased by 4 times, and energy intensity of GDP was reduced by 3 times. In Belarus, the area of land with conditions for the conservation of biological diversity has increased and the situation with the availability of housing and services has improved also.

World leaders recognized the significant success of the previous program, as well as the need to adopt a new agenda after 2015. This is how the document "Transformation of our world: an agenda for sustainable development for the period until 2030" appeared (Agenda-2030), which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

"Agenda-2030" aims to achieve a just, equitable and inclusive world. It commits stakeholders to work together to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection for everyone's benefit.

The agreed Sustainable Development Goals are more ambitious than the Millennium Development Goals. Goals have a broader scope and are designed as a universal tool that applies in both developing and developed countries. The SDGs adopt a more holistic approach to development, which examines the root causes of phenomena such as poverty and inequality, which allows for transformative changes that take into account absolutely every aspect.

"Belarus has very high chances to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, considering that almost all of the Millennium Development Goals were fulfilled ahead of schedule," said UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Sanaka Samarasinha. - Now it is necessary to direct efforts to help the most vulnerable groups of people - the poor, children and vulnerable youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, people living with HIV and no communicable diseases, migrants, refugees - to make sure that no one left side in reaching the SDG. " (Press conferences on SDGs, Minsk, 2.08.2017 http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/ru/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2017/08/02/-/)

Belarus stood at the very origins of the concept of "sustainable development" and played an important role at all stages in the development of SDGs coordination process. To ensure the implementation of Agenda 2030, a national coordinating mechanism has been established in the country. The establishment, by the President of the Republic of Belarus, of the post of the National Coordinator on the achievement of the SDGs in the Republic of Belarus, the formation under her leadership of the National Council for Sustainable Development, which includes representatives of all state bodies, is among the institutional innovations.

"Today, the architecture for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals has been clearly built in Belarus," says National Coordinator for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Marianna Schetkina. - The starting point of our actions was the Government's approval, in 2015, of the National Strategy for Sustainable Social and Economic Development (NSSD), which determined the main targets to be achieved by 2030. The main task of NSSD is to transform the model of the national economy from administrative to indicative planning, to achieve a balance in the contribution of public and private property to the formation of gross domestic product and the development of the national economy, the introduction of the principles of the "green economy" into production, innovative development and social support for the neediest and creating conditions for realization of personal potential of each person. At the same time, it is important to harmonize the National Strategy for Sustainable Social and Economic Development with the Sustainable Development Goals. I want to emphasize that the strategic goal and the main indicator of the SDGs achievement are not figures and indicators, but the well-being of people and the further development of the country. " (Round table with the participation of the members of the Council for Sustainable Development, as well as the representatives of the UN Advisory and Expert MAPS-mission, Minsk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1.12.2017 http://www.belta.by/society/view/v-belarusi-chetko-vystroena-arhitektura-dostizhenija-tselej-ustojchivogo-razvitija-schetkina-278628-2017/ )

The starting conditions for our country on the way to SDGs were outlined in the first voluntary national report presented at the UN headquarters in New York at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The report identified weaknesses and outlined ways to overcome them, presented the vision and approaches of Belarus to achieve such SDGs as good health and well-being, gender equality, innovation, infrastructure.

Sanaka Samarasinha notes that "The world should know about the Belarusian experience. We are only two years on this journey, but as we move forward, lets ensure that the world learns from Belarus in the same way in which Belarus learns from the rest of the world. Thanks to such a dialogue based on mutual respect and the desire to understand each other, with no doubt we will create a world for our children that will be better than the world we have entered into. " (Open parliamentary hearings "Partnership of the branches of power as a prerequisite for the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals", Minsk, Council of the Republic, 19.12.2017)

No matter how pathetic it sounds, but 17 SDGs affect absolutely all spheres of human activity, aimed at the sustainable development of our planet. You cannot solve the problem of hunger without solving the problem of poverty. It is impossible to solve the problem of poverty, without reducing inequality, which, in turn, cannot be eliminated without the appearance of decent work and economic growth. In turn, climate change, which is also one of the SDG, has a huge impact on economic development, natural resources and poverty alleviation. This chain can be continued indefinitely, the realization of one goal will draw a number of others. Everything is closely intertwined in our world. And it is possible to solve such problems only in close partnership. At the same time, the dominant task is to "leave no one behind" -such a slogan is used all over the world in the work to achieve the SDGs.

Ensuring the activities of the National Coordinator and the Council for Sustainable Development is carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Andrei Dapkunas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, the SDGs created a new international reality:

"This is a unique situation for mankind. We can say that this is the most vivid positive manifestation of globalization, which is often spoken in a negative context. Indeed, the welfare of all countries depends on the efforts of individual countries and vice versa. In this regard, National Sustainable Development ceases to be a closed internal affair: what we are doing within the SDGs architecture in Belarus is also a foreign policy and direct international activity in its most creative embodiment. We proceed from the assumption that Belarus can be more than just one of the ordinary participants in this process. We can offer our experience of multilateral diplomacy, our ideas, opportunities, finally, our platform for an international dialogue on sustainable development. Proceeding from this understanding of the possible role of Belarus, we proposed to hold the first regional high-level forum for national coordinators on SDGs issues in Europe and the CIS in February ". (Open parliamentary hearings "Partnership of the branches of power as a prerequisite for the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals", Minsk, Council of the Republic, 19.12.2017)

The United Nations Development Program actively helps the government of Belarus in achieving the country's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Work goes on all possible directions: together with partners - the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Russian Federation and others, UNDP is implementing projects aimed at ensuring gender equality, building an inclusive society, combating illegal migration and trafficking in human beings, actively helping to implement the principles of "green economy: facilitates the withdrawal of ozone-depleting substances, develops and implements plans for green urban development, restores the ecosystem of Belarusian swaps, implements energy efficient technologies in residential buildings and educational institutions, etc.

To facilitate the formation of a national mechanism for interaction between the state bodies of the Republic of Belarus in implementing Agenda 2030, the UNDP project "Supporting the National Coordinator's Activities in Achieving the Goals of Sustainable Development and Strengthening the Role of Parliament in Achieving the Goals of Sustainable Development" is being implemented in the country. The national executing agency of the project is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, and the partners are the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus and the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

 "No government can cope with such tasks without proactive citizens, without involving local communities in such work," says project manager UNDP Natalia Minchenko. - It is important that as many people as possible know about the SDGs so that they do not remain indifferent, so that to actively connect and understand what are they working for on their implementation.

We choose diverse ways of disseminating information about SDG, we try to make them creative, unusual. I think that everyone has heard about such campaigns as "Express UN70", "Inclusive Belarus", "Mind Over Matter". In 2018 for the third time UNDP will conduct the "Bike Ride for the Sustainable Development Goals - Bike4SDGs", which traditionally involves employees of UN agencies in Belarus, the diplomatic corps, international organizations, representatives of ministries and other government agencies, NGOs, private sector, media and public.

As part of the information campaign to make the SDGs icons recognizable, we decided to give them a national flavor, developed and approved localized versions of the SDGs badges using national ornament.  As an ornament, our partners, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, offered to use the Belarusian ornament "Eighthorn", which symbolizes "Development", "Man-life". This ornament was very harmoniously inscribed in the global SDGs logo, we like it very much.

Localized SDG badges can be seen on billboards installed in different places in Minsk, and can also be seen on national and regional TV channels as part of an animated video. Installing the billboards with the SDG logo, we set a goal to acquaint our people with the logo and cause interest in these icons, I think we have succeeded. This is confirmed by the stormy discussion of billboards in social networks, all have one question - what are the " Sustainable Development Goals". And this is our next step - a purposeful work to promote and explain each of the 17 SDGs. And this is where we really need the help of young people who are very creative and are not afraid to experiment, we even think of holding a contest for the best illustration of each SDG, and are looking for partners to implement this. "

« The more supporters we have, the closer we are to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, "Marianna Schetkina is sure. - Only together as a team we can cope with the challenges and threats arising in the modern world, moving along the trajectory indicated by Agenda-2030».

 

Contact information

ruslan.khilkevich@undp.org

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