Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Evgeny Varganov at the plenary segment of the High-Level Meeting on Middle-Income Countries
The demand for acceleration of socio-economic development of middle-income countries, which amount to 70% of the world's population and more than a half of all people living in extreme poverty, is a key challenge for global progress in implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development In our opinion, despite a significant development potential in these countries, problems such as high income inequalities, insufficient social services and a low level of economic diversification hinder further development in this category of countries.
For many middle-income countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned to be a real shock. They face risks of debt crises, decline in production and trade as well as in human development index. In this context, we are forced to mention the unilateral economic coercive measures applied against certain middle-income countries, which extremely affect development of these countries and well-being of ordinary people. The criteria of vulnerability of developing countries, including MICs, are to be revised.
We believe that it is important to make additional efforts to strengthen socio-economic systems and to implement policy measures for early macroeconomic and fiscal recovery, as well as to provide middle-income countries with an access to long-term private financing and to further develop local capital markets. A significant contribution to their development should be made through improvement of investment policy environment, which could be supported by the creation of special economic zones, especially during the period of developing and implementing legislative and regulatory amendments.
Close South-South and triangular cooperation plays a critical role in overall efforts to further develop and get over consequences of the pandemic in middle-income countries. Integration processes are getting more and more important. Regional agreements do not only significantly simplify free movement of goods, services, persons and capital, but also contribute to production and technical base modernization, best governance practices implementation and sustainable infrastructure development.
In this context, we would like to share the experience of the Russian Federation in strengthening regional integration. We are talking about the positive experience of cooperation with our neighbors within the Eurasian Economic Union. The EAEU member states have gone well beyond establishment of a common customs territory. Currently, our governments put forward the policy of creating a fully functional single market and economic union. It is expected that the measures being implemented, some of which have already been delegated to the supranational level, should result in an increase in availability of goods and services, marketing development, employment, incomes and purchasing power growth.
It is impossible to overestimate the role of the EAEU in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic consequences. Adoption of the reasonable measures and decisions, including the "green" corridors functioning for safe and resilient cross-border supply of the Union countries with necessary medical goods, mutual assistance in the acquisition of clinical laboratory coronavirus diagnostics facilities, vaccination and digital technologies adoption, have allowed to maintain economic stability and to prevent development of crisis phenomena.
We want to point at the fact that prosperous middle-income countries are important and reliable partners of international development assistance. They make a significant contribution to the global SDGs achievement efforts, helping those who are the most vulnerable. In this regard, it is crucial that the international community with the leading role of the UN continues to address their social, economic and humanitarian challenges.