Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda
September 27, 2015
Ladies and gentlemen,
The promotion of socioeconomic progress and the prosperity of all countries and peoples is the UN core mission. Forging a global partnership for development has been one of the most significant achievements of the UN that we all can rightly be proud of. Fifteen years ago, it was the UN that made it possible for the international community to unite in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Joint efforts of the Member States, international and non-governmental organisations, business and academia have worked for progress in fighting poverty and hunger, in providing access to healthcare and education services for millions of people around the world as well as in reducing maternal and child mortality rates.
The impressive success in the achievement of the MDGs is by no means a reason for complacency. Addressing global challenges, such as the eradication of extreme poverty, combating inequality, ensuring food security and personal health and shifting to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption, will require additional financial, industrial and technological resources supported by an environment for constructive cooperation and mutual assistance. Many states still cannot overcome development challenges on their own, and are often consumed by political instability, discrimination and restrictions, and are in need of large-scale international support. The outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development that was held in Addis Ababa last July provided a solid basis for increasing this interaction.
Russia welcomes the adoption of the new 2030 Agenda for Development. We stand ready to support the successful implementation of this programme at all levels. Guided by the principles of solidarity, our country will continue to make a significant contribution to the building of and the strengthening of the economic, intellectual, information, scientific and technological capacities of partner countries. We will further facilitate the effective utilisation of the possibilities offered by global markets for goods and services, the diversification of economic ties, the active participation in integration processes, the empowerment of women and youth, as well as the promotion of a child-friendly environment. Russia intends to use the achievements in science and technology, in particular information and communication technologies that are essential to accelerate global development and bridge the gap between the developed and the developing countries.
Russian development assistance is invariably aimed at solving the most pressing challenges faced by the countries in need. In these efforts, we are neither trying to lecture our partners on how they should build their lives, nor impose political models and values. Poverty eradication is the key objective of Russia's state policy in the area of international development assistance at the global level. Debt relief is an effective tool in this regard. Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), our country has written off over 20 bn US dollars of the principal debt owed by African countries alone. Russia also contributes to reducing the debt burden of the poorest countries beyond the HIPC through debt-for-aid swaps. We also take other steps towards the settlement of debt owed to Russia, both within multilateral and bilateral formats.
Russia has been funding and implementing aid projects on education, healthcare, energy, food security and infrastructure. We actively use the capacities offered by the UN Development System organisations and humanitarian agencies that provide assistance without conditions and in a politically unbiased manner.
Despite the challenging economic environment Russia remains a responsible and reliable partner to developing countries in addressing the most pressing challenges confronting their people such as the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, maternal, infant and child mortality issues or the Ebola outbreak.
Our international development assistance is increasing. Last year it increased by over 20 percent. We have provided over 127 m US dollars through the UN system alone, and the overall ODA in accordance with OECD methodology surpassed 875 m US dollars. We will further enhance our participation in multilateral development assistance efforts.
It is understood that the assistance to countries in need in establishing viable socioeconomic systems is an investment in global stability. It is an essential precondition for building a more effective and resilient international system, a factor in the well-being and prosperity of humanity as a whole. We often refer to the indivisibility of international peace and security. A new socioeconomic agenda should ensure the indivisibility of sustainable development.
The international community should promote an enabling external environment for socioeconomic progress. It is especially important to ensure fair trade and enhanced access to cutting-edge technologies.
Russia stands for creating a more equitable global economic order and ensuring better governance for global development. We call on the international community to act under the universally recognised standards of international law, in the spirit of collective decision-making. We will enhance our cooperation with our partners in such viable formats as the G20 and BRICS; we are open to dialogue in the framework of other informal structures - obviously while respecting the central coordinating role of the UN.
We call for more consistent efforts to reform the governance structures, in particular the IMF and the World Bank, by strengthening the developing countries’ positions. We stand for a more efficient interaction between the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO in order to harmonise the governance of the global monetary, financial and trade systems. We see an important role in these processes for the UN specialised agencies.
Russia remains committed to consolidating regional cooperation, including integration in the Eurasian space. The recently established Eurasian Economic Union is becoming an important factor for facilitating strong, sustained and long-term economic growth in the participating countries. While developing this Union, we always stand for the harmonisation of the various integration mechanisms both in the East and in the West.
Unilateral coercive measures that are imposed in violation of the UN Charter are in direct contradiction with the achievement of sustainable development goals. Illegitimate restrictive actions that also undermine market principles in trade, finance, technology and investment should be discontinued. This fully applies to lifting the embargo against Cuba, as well as to other sanctions which have bypassed the UN Security Council.
In our view, finding a solution to the climate change problem is one of the key preconditions for achieving sustainable development. Our country is the global leader in the cumulative reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and compensates for the increases of the emissions in other countries and regions of the world. We have gone beyond our commitments under the Kyoto Protocol by reducing emissions 31 percent below 1990 levels. Over the last twenty years, the emissions from Russia's energy sector have been reduced by 37 percent (equal to five-years of emissions by all EU countries and three-years of emissions by the US).
In the context of preparations for the UNFCCC Conference in Paris we have already announced the parameters of our possible commitments. We would like to highlight the role of the Russian boreal forests that absorb around 600 m tons of carbon dioxide per year. We will push for including the forest factor in the framework of a new climate agreement and also consider complementing the efforts under the aegis of the UN Forum on Forests with practical actions within some form of a UN centre for planning, protection and the rehabilitation of forests with a view to achieving sustainable development and controlling climate change.
In general, we are convinced that this is necessary to make the decisions of the forthcoming Paris Conference comprehensive, legally binding and universal. The problem of climate change is extremely serious and in this sense the quality and the efficiency of the agreement should have absolute priority.
In its 70th anniversary, the UN remains the main international forum for developing basic principles and standards of socioeconomic, humanitarian and environmental cooperation. Multilateral associations, including the informal alliances of leaders, should organise their work in line with the fundamental agreements achieved at this universal organisation which has undeniable legitimacy.
We are ready to contribute, comprehensively, to increasing the effectiveness of the United Nations. I believe that by joining efforts we will achieve the efficient and timely implementation of a new global development agenda.