Statement by Mr. Andrey Chibis, Deputy Minister for Construction, Utilities and Housing, at the side-event
It is a great pleasure and a privilege for me to address today this audience on a topic which is very important to my country and highly relevant to the work of the HLPF, particularly on SDG17. I want to share with you the highlights of Russia’s development assistance channeled through the United Nations.
The Russian Federation’s role as a provider of international development assistance is unique due to the fact that it has “re-emerged” as a donor. Since the crisis of the 90s our country has become an active global development cooperation partner. Currently, international development assistance is a key component of our foreign policy, and it is increasing in scope and maturing in nature.
The current priorities of our international development assistance, as well as its objectives and principles are set out in the State Concept of International Development Assistance Policy. As of 2017, the overall international development assistance provided by our country, that according to OECD falls under the category of Official Development Assistance, amounted to $1.2 billion. It is important to note that the Russian development assistance is fully in line with national priorities of our partner countries, as well as the overall framework of the MDGs and the SDGs.
The sectors that are mainly targeted by projects and programmes supported by the Russian Federation are health (maternal and child mortality, communicable and non-communicable diseases), education, environmental sustainability, food security (“Food for work” programme, school meals), as well as socio-economic development in general, with a focus on poverty eradication. We also pay increased attention to the creation and modernization of trade and economic infrastructure, industry, including through innovation, capacity-building in such areas as the fight against terrorism and organized crime, as well as in public administration.
The State Concept of International Development Assistance Policy also stipulates that projects are mainly focused on (but not limited to) the CIS and Central Asia regions, with particular attention to the Eurasian integration processes. Due to historic, cultural, economic and political links and ties that we share, the countries of this region receive over 40 per cent of the funding. Among other recipients of our aid are countries of Latin America (up to 3 per cent), South and South-East Asia (about 12 per cent, Sub-Saharan Africa (about 8 per cent) and the Middle East (4.5%).
Assistance channeled through the UN system amounts to 25 per cent of Russian development aid. For us the UN system is a reliable and high-quality partner with strong capacities in the area of project implementation, needs assessment, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
In the last three years, we have allocated over $60 million to the implementation of projects by various funds and programmes, in addition to contributions paid to their regular budgets. Further projects for up to $68 million are currently in the pipeline.
Building on this experience, we started working on a solid normative basis for cooperation with leading agencies of the UN development system. This work has already resulted in signing partnership agreements that are strategic in their nature. Among others, the two most recent examples are agreements signed with UNDP and WFP. Similar work is underway with UNICEF and UNIDO.
We consider it necessary to actively use the potential of the organizations of the United Nations development system, including operational programs and funds, whose assistance is unconditionally and exclusively depoliticized.
Russia’s largest UN development assistance partner is the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). To fund joint initiatives we established a Russia-UNDP Trust Fund for the Development. The Fund also finances major regional projects in support of the most interested categories of developing countries, including the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states. The total volume of assistance financed by Russia through this Trust Fund exceeded $ 60 million and covered 25 states where over 30 projects were implemented or are underway or in the pipeline.
The interaction with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is steadily growing, and in 2012-2017 we allocated over $ 23 million for humanitarian response operations and development assistance to partner countries.
The Russian Federation is a major contributor to the UNIDO Industrial Development Fund. With an annual voluntary contribution of $ 2.6 million Russia helps UNIDO to implement 11 technical assistance projects, most of them in the CIS area.
We also maintain partnerships with international health organizations. One of the most important thematic areas within the framework of Russia's partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) is the fight against non-communicable diseases, strengthening WHO's capacity for emergency preparedness and response, as well as implementation of the International Health Regulations in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Since 2012, nearly $50 million have been allocated for these purposes.
In 2013-2018 we donated $ 21 million to the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to finance a program of technical assistance to countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the prevention, control and monitoring of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
In the context of the achievement of SDG 2 (zero hunger) our country is actively involved in the international food aid efforts by providing assistance to foreign countries through bilateral channels as well as on a multilateral basis. With the World Food Programme (WFP) alone the Russian Federation annually provides humanitarian food aid worth over $30 million. Between 2003 and 2017 the funds allocated for those goals totaled $333 million. This year we plan to supply 97 KAMAZ trucks to re-equip the WFP trucking fleet and contribute $1.5 million to the Programme's logistic development.
We regard as success our work with the WFP to develop sustainable school meals programmes in the countries of the Caucasus and the Central Asia (Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan), as well as in the Middle East and North Africa (Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco). The funds that we invested ($77.1 million) were efficiently used to purchase and supply products, refurbish school canteens, provide hot meals for elementary school students, improve cooking skills and kitchen staff qualifications, create a local food base, share best practices and assist in the development of the framework, policy and school meals pilot programme.
Another $6 million were allocated for the implementation of a joint technical assisstance project with the FAO aimed at helping the governments of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to ensure food security and nutrition, as well as sustainable development of agriculture. We make serious efforts to assist the countries of Eastern Europe and the Central Asia in the development and the implementation of national strategies and action plans for reducing the threat of antimicrobial resistance ($3.3 million).
We apply innovative mechanisms in fostering the international development assisstance. In 2017 we launched a large-scale project ($40 million) of converting the Mozambique debt to the Russian Federation into the national school meals programme implemented with the WFP.
A prominent part of Russia’s development assistance programme is implemented through the two UN regional commissions, Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in both of which we are members. In fact, Russia is the largest donor of ECE and ESCAP contributing annually $1,2 million to each respective trust fund. In 2017 Russian funding allowed the ECE to implement 18, and ESCAP – 10 technical cooperation projects.
They stretch across a wide spectrum of activities in line with the Agenda-2030 aiming at the capacity building in the recipient countries in such fields as efficient use of natural resources, energy efficiency, trade facilitation and public-private partnerships.
Russia is also a resource partner in the Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) that is jointly administered by both regional commissions. SPECA programmes reflect special needs of the recipient countries centered around water and energy nexus, as well transport connectivity.
On the overall, hundreds of projects are implemented by UN agencies with targeted financial support from Russia. However, only a few projects are implemented jointly. We see great reserves in more active cooperation with UN organizations in initiating and implementing projects and consolidating not only financial resources but also the experience and unique competence of various agencies.
In conclusion I’d like to draw your attention to a short film, that we have prepared to better illustrate some of the positive examples of our partnerships with the UN system agencies.
Thank you for the attention.