Address by the UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki at the opening of the International Environmental Exhibition “Ecology Expo 2021” and the Environmental Forum “Public involvement in environmental decision-making”.
Minsk, 3 June 2021
On behalf of the United Nations I am glad to welcome all the participants of the international exhibition and environmental forum.
Ecology, innovation, green economy, private sector investments and civil society involvement in decision-making and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals are not the topics of these exhibition and forum only, but they are the areas, where the United Nations in Belarus has been active for many years providing support to the country’s long-term strategy of transition to low-carbon pathway.
Climate action is the global agenda and global priority. Speaking in the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 summit that opened on Sunday in South Korea UN Secretary-General António Guterres once again called for a global partnership to address climate change and enable inclusive green growth.
As we all know climate action is a sphere, where there is still much to do, in particular, to reduce emissions and achieve the SDG. We also see that the world is moving step by step in this direction and transition to carbon neutrality is increasingly viewed as a new opportunity rather than a threat to the economy, especially in the context of the economic rebirth after the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Many countries announce their aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, increase their nationally determined contributions to the global emission reduction and, more importantly, adopt laws and programmes to help economies and societies implement this transformation leaving no one behind.
We hope that the Republic of Belarus will continue to follow the course of increasing its national contribution to the global emission reduction. It is hugely important that in Belarus the work on a number of environmental laws and other documents in the field of green economy, low-carbon development, water resources management and biodiversity conservation is in progress. The new measures aimed at reduction of the use of disposable plastic and further progress in peatland restoration were taken in 2020.
All these steps will help address such environmental issues as air quality, green urban development, waste management, development of electric transport and environmental awareness growth. Meanwhile such solutions as peatland restoration, adoption of wind energy and electric transport do not only contribute to reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere but help fulfil the international commitments undertaken by Belarus.
It is especially important that these priorities be not only the task for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection but for the Belarusian economy in general, which also means openness to innovation and private sector capital that will help raise investment on the scale required.
The year 2020 was rather challenging and the global COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons why. Emerging from the pandemic gives us a unique opportunity to transform the economies towards sustainable development. The implementation of this ambitious agenda is only possible through a wider partnership with all stakeholders both on the part of states and on the part of the private sector, non-governmental organizations and with the participation of independent mass media.
The role of mass media and nongovernmental organizations in development assistance cannot be overstated as they are not only the important social institutions that carry out collection, processing and dissemination of information but they also constitute a system of feedback and public opinion monitoring.
I would like to take this opportunity to propose the start of a new dialogue and partnership to the benefit of Belarusian environment and invite to cooperate with the United Nations for the promotion of this initiative.
On its part UN is ready to support the efforts that Belarus is applying in the sphere of sustainable development. This year we start implementation of the new UN and Belarus Cooperation Framework for Sustainable Development for 2021-2025. The transition to a green economy is one of its four strategic priorities.
We are ready to work with all partners, demonstrate the advanced foreign experience in Belarus and inform the whole world on the best practices of Belarus including on the issues and solutions that we will see here at the exhibition.