Statement by H.E.Mr. Alexander Pankin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Middle-Income Countries (MICs)
Ladies and gentlemen,
We welcome this relevant and timely High-level Meeting. It is fully in line with the spirit of inclusiveness of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development that is aimed at leaving no country behind.
We believe that progress in achieving sustainable development in middle-income countries will have a significant impact on the implementation of the Agenda-2030 on a global scale. This is especially true for eradicating poverty, which is a key priority among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of the most serious challenges for this category of countries is the high level of internal inequality. Other problems include vulnerability to external factors, the implications of urbanization, unemployment, environmental issues, weak government institutions and in some cases sovereign debt.
The main task of the international community and the UN development system at this stage is to provide targeted assistance to these countries in overcoming certain difficulties. The emphasis should be made on personnel training, introduction of modern digital technologies both in the economic activities of these countries and in the public administration system, primarily in the provision of public services.
Involvement in integration processes can be of a significant help to these countries in implementing Agenda-2030. A unified customs area, free movement of people, goods, services and capital, as it is the case in the Eurasian Economic Union, are a kind of “a safety net” for participants. It helps to overcome internal inequalities, pull countries which face challenges up to the level of countries that constitute the driving force of the economic development.
We believe that the reformed UN development system, in particular the resident-coordinators in middle-income countries, should aim at these targets. The empowerment of the RCs and their greater focus on local needs should contribute to successful overcoming the challenges by the middle-income countries. Likewise, we are convinced that harmonized efforts of development entities working jointly with UN regional commissions should be beneficial for the achievement of Agenda-2030 goals in middle-income countries.
Supporting these countries is also important due to the fact that they are currently not only assistance recipients, but also partners of the development system, allocating their own resources into it. Sustaining their economic growth would provide for their transition from “middle-class” group to the group of international donors, which - in its turn - is undoubtful benefit for the whole development system.