Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Evgeny Varganov at the general debate of the Second Committee of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly
This anniversary session of the Second Committee is taking place in challenging conditions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. In this context, the Committee’s agenda is particularly relevant and busy. As outcome of our joint efforts, we see effective, realistic and consensus-based roadmaps that would bring the international community back on the sustainable development track.
Against the backdrop of the global economic uncertainty, growing tangle of political and trade discrepancies, volatility of financial and commodity markets, increasing inequalities within and among countries and regions, exacerbated sovereign debt and rising poverty, particular attention must be given to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We consider poverty eradication in all its forms as an especially timely objective. Success of international efforts in this respect is inextricably intertwined with addressing such urgent goals as ensuring food security and universal health coverage. Specifically in the healthcare context, in early August Russia officially registered the first ever vaccine against the coronavirus “Sputnik V” which has proven to be highly effective and safe. We are ready for international cooperation with all interested partners in order to ensure global coordinated efforts to combat COVID-19.
We would like to emphasize that measures under our consideration aimed at overcoming consequences of COVID-19 must not be held hostage to such slogans as the “green recovery” favoring ideas of trade and climate protectionism under the guise of care for Planet’s health. Recovery should not lead to competition but bring everyone together based on the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. Climate change issues should be addressed under specialized platforms such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. On the energy track, we emphasize the priority of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, use of various sources of fuel and technologies along with scaling-up their exchange. Just recently – in late September – this approach was reaffirmed at the G20 energy ministers’ meeting. With this in mind, natural gas and nuclear energy, as cleaner energy sources, have a significant potential for meeting the global energy demand that will increase over the course of economic recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Assistance to developing countries, particularly LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, on these significant matters is the most important task in the context of joint work of donors and the UN system, including by means of South-South and Triangular cooperation.
In this regard, we stand against enhancement of unilateral approaches and protectionism in international trade as well as proliferation of regimes of unilateral sanctions applied outside the UN Security Council. Such policies have been especially harmful to countries with dependency on imports of food and medical supplies. Therefore, we would like to highlight the relevance of the initiative by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to create so called “green channels” that are free from trade wars and sanctions, primarily for essential goods, foods, medicines and personal protection equipment which are needed specifically for tackling the pandemic.
At the time of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, ICTs have become an important factor in the medical, agricultural and other fields. We welcome the active role of the UN in discussing social and economic aspects of the digital agenda. This work must be based on consensual approaches approved by Member States. We stress that the roadmap proposed by the Secretary-General on this matter yet requires thorough examination.
We share the views of the growing number of countries regarding the need for a rapid reform of the global financial system by increasing the weight and role of major emerging economies in the management of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
We note with appreciation the acceleration of work on the WTO reform that has lingered since 2008. The WTO is an important mechanism for sustaining and strengthening the universal, open, non-discriminatory and equitable trade.
As supply chains become more efficient and international communications and digital transformation experience fragmentation, we are witnessing progressive strengthening of regional integration networks. In this context, we favor alignment of the capacities of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Belt and Road initiative, ASEAN, SCO and other regional projects for transition to the quality integration enhancement in the framework of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, the “integration of integrations”.
We believe that post-COVID recovery should be better and more equitable, albeit not at the expense of one’s neighbor but with his interests taken into account. Developing countries can achieve progress in the recovery after crisis by mobilizing their domestic efforts, attracting investments in the productive sector, putting barriers on the way of speculative capitals, managing their own capital accounts in an effective manner, “deoffshorizing” their economies, participating in international tax cooperation and ensuring financial integrity as agreed by Member States in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The crisis has only confirmed the relevance of our proposal to create, under the UN auspices, a multilateral legal mechanism for stolen assets recovery.
We view the Quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development (QCPR) as the basis for development work. In these hard times the QCPR is more important than ever – it should give an impetus to governments and the development system to find ways to recover from the ongoing crisis.
Early warning systems are key to prevention of dramatic consequences of extreme weather events. Russia consistently supports efforts, including at the UN, to promote cooperation on this subject. The Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is an important instrument in this regard. We believe that the initiative aimed at creating a global network of crises response centers is timely.
Russia is a traditional and trustworthy member of international development efforts. We are ready for joint and constructive work with all interested parties to elaborate effective and realistic measures for global sustainable development and prosperity based on the principles of multilateralism and solidarity.
We are keen on improving the methods of work of the Committee while observing the principles of the UN Charter, as well as respective GA resolutions regarding its revitalization.
Thank you for your attention.