First Published in BelTA.

Belarus views the 2030 Agenda as a unique basis for a new global sustainable development policy, Speaker of the Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich said at the First National Forum on Sustainable Development in Minsk on 24 January, BelTA has learned.

Welcoming the participants of the forum, Mikhail Myasnikovich said that Belarus views the 2030 Agenda as a unique basis for a new global policy in sustainable development.

The SDGs has been formulated, guidelines and mechanisms for their achievement have been drawn up. According to the speaker, the organizers of the forum and MPs expect the participants to put forward new ideas for the achievement of the SDGs. He suggested discussing several topics, like how reliable are GDGs in evaluating sustainable development at the global level and what will happen if some global economic powers withdraw from regional integration associations.

Mikhail Myasnikovich said that the national legislation is one of the conditions for the successful achievement of the SDGs. The Belarusian Parliament works on this in detail. In 2018, a number of laws aimed at achieving the SDGs were adopted. Among them was the law on specially protected natural areas, on the production and circulation of organic products. This work will continue in 2019. the Parliament plans to consider bills relating to health, the rights of people with disabilities.

Mikhail Myasnikovich drew attention to the fact that this year Belarus will begin the work on the main areas of the country’s development till 2025. The task is challenging, since the goal is to bring GDP to $100 billion in equivalent by 2025. This means turning Belarus into a country with average per capita income in PPP terms, above the world average. It is the Sustainable Development Goals that will become part and parcel of the country’s economic and social development, Mikhail Myasnikovich said.

The First National Forum on Sustainable Development in Minsk has brought together over 400 delegates: representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Economy Ministry, the Labor and Social Security Ministry, the Energy Ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the National Statistics Committee, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Hi-Tech Park, manufacturing companies, higher learning institutions, NGOs, UN agencies and international experts. They are set to share views and put forward proposals on the further action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. They will also outline goals and objectives for the short-term, mid-term and long-term perspectives. Belarus will submit a report on its progress in achieving the SDGs and implementing the national strategy on sustainable social and economic development for the period till 2030 and preparation of the national sustainable development strategy through 2035.

Special attention will be paid to the implementation by Belarus of the recommendations of the UN experts (MAPS mission) to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and interaction with international partners. Panel discussions will consider several areas: sustainable economic growth as a prerequisite for ensuring high quality of life of the Belarusian people, environmental safety, sustainable use of natural resources, improving the quality of life by providing access to high-quality healthcare, education and decent work. Special consideration will be given to digitalization as a driver of economic growth, transformation of the energy system for sustainable development. Belarus will also showcase its national reporting platform on the Sustainable Development Goals and SDG indicators and the project to assist the Republic of Belarus in nationalizing and localizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The participants of the forum are expected to prepare recommendations which will be used by the Council for Sustainable Development and, if necessary, forwarded to the Parliament and the government for finalization. They can also be presented at the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The event is organized by the national coordinator for the SDGs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the support of the UN Office in Belarus.

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