Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC open debate "Promote sustaining peace through common development"
We followed with interest the briefings by Secretary-General Guterres, President of the New Development Bank, Ms. Dilma Rousseff, and Professor Jeffrey Sachs
We thank Chinese Presidency for the initiative to discuss the peace and development nexus at the Security Council. This is particularly symbolic today, when we celebrate Africa Industrialization Day. At the same time, when discussing modalities of a constructive linkage between sustaining peace and development (the concept of which is still being elaborated), it is important to uphold the division of labor between the principal bodies of the United Nations in the area of peace and development, as enshrined in the UN Charter, and to avoid duplication of mandates. Development problems should first and foremost be addressed by specialized platforms, including the United Nations General Assembly and ECOSOC, as well as the UN development system.
We share the concern of the UN Secretariat and leading experts in this field that the implementation of the main objective of Agenda-2030, namely eradication of poverty has stalled. In addition to the consequences of the pandemic, this has been caused by serious macroeconomic miscalculations of the West, the increasing politicization of international development by major donors, including the continuing practice of the collective West to use illegal unilateral coercive measures that harm the welfare of ordinary citizens in the most vulnerable states and lead to fragmentation of global trade, limiting access to investment and technology. Developed countries fail to deliver on their commitments to the Global South in such areas as official development assistance and climate financing. Instead, they readily enhance arms transfers to conflict zones, from which Western arms manufacturers are known to profit. At the same time, development assistance from Western donors often comes together with de facto interference in the internal affairs of developing states in the form of demands to implement certain socio-economic (e.g., a slant towards the climate agenda) or even political changes.
At the same time, we note that the European Union and the United States are primarily concerned with creating competitive advantages. They impose forced energy transition on countries in the Global South and try to make them abandon conventional energy sources (though not hesitating to resort to it themselves whenever profitable). As a result, developing countries are falling further behind from the "blossoming garden", which is being “greened up” at an accelerated pace.
The concept note by our Chinese friends also rightly draws attention to the unequal access to public and private finance. This is largely explained by specific features of the current international financial system and its institutions that the West created for tending to its interests.
One cannot ignore the worsening debt crisis, dependence of former colonies on commodities, the bias of credit rating agencies and Anglo-Saxon arbitration courts. All these neocolonial elements are aimed at maintaining the subjugation and backwardness of developing countries. Summing up, it will take an all-out transformation of the international economic system of development to ensure solid preconditions for a decent life and a peaceful, conflict-free coexistence.
Multidimensional economic vulnerability (which we believe is a useful tool for the concept that is being elaborated) can be used to look at individual country cases, such as Syria, Afghanistan or a number of African countries for which unilateral restrictions and blockades make it difficult to attract international financing and technical assistance and to build capacities. The UN should support assistance to such countries in building a network of effective and sustainable development partnerships.
Unless we develop a common understanding of the root causes of the current problems of peace and development, the United Nations will not be able to reverse the current trends that are extremely unfavorable for developing countries. No matter how many billions of dollars are allocated to countries in need, the international peace and security situation will continue to deteriorate, and inequality, poverty and large-scale migration will only continue to increase. And, as a consequence, conflicts will grow in number and severity.
It does not take being an expert in economics to understand that, first and foremost, there is a need to mobilize huge financial and non-financial resources so the countries of the Global South can implement Agenda-2030, part with colonial economic models and embark on an independent path of development. This must be the resources that actually reach those in need, rather than something that exists only on paper or flows straight into the pockets of consultants from donor countries. Assessments of needs may vary. A commonly referred-to UN figure is $4.2 trillion needed annually to achieve SDGs.
But the money alone will not be enough. We need to revolutionize the approach to assisting developing countries. But let’s be realistic. In foreseeable future, Western ruling circles are unlikely to abandon their destructive course towards maintaining dominance. However, the world is changing dramatically, and there is a demand for alternative methods of ensuring global stability through establishing security mechanisms beyond the control of Washington and its satellites, through the formation of zones of pragmatic cooperation and development across the globe.
We can boost this process if we rely on multilateral platforms that work on an equal footing and focus on a constructive agenda. We see good prospects for using the potential of the associations operating in Eurasia, including the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the CSTO, the EAEU, the CIS, the SCO, ASEAN and the GCC. We note the constructive and extensive potential of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.
If their working programs connect with one another, it will contribute to the formation of the Greater Eurasian Partnership and help find ways to ensure security and sustainable economic development. There is growing interest in South-South and triangular cooperation aimed at disrupting the vicious circle of poverty, instability and inequality in development, promoting effective ownership of national development strategies and enhancing the returns of individual and collective efforts.
In the global context, I would like to highlight the outspoken growth in the authority and attractiveness of BRICS, within which framework countries with different political systems set an example of multipolar diplomacy aimed at harmonizing effective forms of commercial, economic, investment and humanitarian cooperation on an equal footing. It also contributes meaningfully to promoting development without external dictation.
It is also important to emphasize that peace alone does not guarantee development and vice versa. The growing popularity of linking some thematic elements of development to security, such as climate or access to water, is a cause for concern. This diverts attention and resources from the actual task of promoting development as such and diminishes the importance of this agenda in the United Nations system.
We see a risk of using issues related to development for introducing some "universal" benchmarks that would justify pre-emptive steps in the area of conflict prevention and could thus serve as tools for interfering in the internal affairs of "undesirable" states and exerting political, financial and economic pressure on them. It is unacceptable for the UN framework to have ratings of countries’ "conflict potential" (some rating agencies in the United States have already taken on this politicized practice), i.a. with regard to development issues. We emphasize the need to refrain from "one-size-fits-all" approaches in this area.
As for Russia, one of the main tasks enshrined in the Concept of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the area of international development assistance is "contributing to the elimination of existing and potential hotbeds of tension and conflict". Guided by this approach, we prioritize the transfer of technology and expertise to the poorest and most vulnerable countries without preconditions, and the development of industry and critical infrastructure. Russia is involved in projects in the areas of industrialization, digitalization and agriculture. We continue to assist in the production of electricity, including in the field of nuclear energy. We step up the practice of providing state-funded scholarships.
We call on our colleagues to follow suit.