More than 400 representatives of government, local authorities, educational and academic institutions from six regions of Belarus, as well as United Nations agencies, international organizations and foreign embassies got together at the first National Forum on Sustainable Development in Minsk on 24 January 2019.
The meeting is the first of its kind among countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The National SDG Forum emphasizes the critical role played by local authorities in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Four discussion panels will focus on implementation of economic, social and environmental policies in line with the principles of leaving no one behind. Another session devoted to issues of sustaining the high quality of life through better health care, education and equal opportunities for men and women, including in the workplace will be followed by discussion on SDG monitoring and reporting and the role of statistics.
The meeting is attended by Ms. Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Chair of the Regional UN Sustainable Development Group and Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS in New York who comes to Belarus on her first programme country visit since her appointment in 2018.
In her video message to participants of the National Forum on Sustainable Development in Minsk, Ms. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized that engagement of the parliament, executive and local authorities, civil society, private sector and academia were essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The SDGs necessitate growing inclusive economies with the new, green and sustainable development paradigm that addresses inequalities and reaching those who are lagging behind”, she stressed.
Amina J. Mohammed expressed United Nations’ commitment to support Belarus in all its efforts to achieve the SDGs especially now when the country is drafting its new national development strategy for 2035.
Participants from oblast’ local organizations have an opportunity to discuss the role of local authorities in implementation of SDGs at the national and local level during the meeting. The Forum will help to connect local development strategies with global development agenda as local authorities play important role in localization of SDGs.
“The United Nations and international technical assistance in Belarus offer support to the process of local level prioritization and strategic planning for implementation of the SDGs. In the process of preparation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2035, Belarus can use the “accelerators” approach recommended to Belarus by the UN experts’ in draft “Roadmap for SDGs Implementation in the Republic of Belarus”. The proposed accelerators are (1) green transition for inclusive and sustainable growth, (2) future generation orientation, (3) digital transformation and social innovation, as well as (4) gender equitable society.” – said Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, in her address to the Forum.
Belarus has been very active in promoting Sustainable Development Goals on the global, regional and national level. In 2017, the President of Belarus appointed the National Coordinator for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals and created the Council on Sustainable Development. Also, in 2017 Belarus has presented its first Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the High-Level Political Forum in New York. In February 2018 Belarus hosted the first Regional SDGs Coordination Leaders Forum “Building a partnership to underpin national sustainable development solutions”.
The Parliamentary Group on the SDGs was formed in the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, which included deputies of the House of Representatives and members of the Council of the Republic.
In 2017 open parliamentary hearings “Partnership of branches of government as a necessary condition for the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals” were held followed by an extended meeting of the parliamentary group on SDGs in 2018, which reviewed the implementation of the recommendations based on the results of the 2017 parliamentary hearings.
To ensure participation of the general public in work on the SDGs, an open-ended partnership group has been created, which included representatives of business, public associations and academia.
In 2018, work on achieving the SDGs in Belarus was considered at a meeting of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus and reported to the President of the Republic of Belarus.