Ukrainian President focuses on sustainable energy in General Assembly address

President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

24 September 2013 – A new, inclusive approach to the sustainable development of energy is needed to ensure the efficiency and safety of all energy sources, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told world leaders attending the United Nations General Assembly today.

Addressing the General Debate of the Assembly’s the 68th session, he said the new approach must ensure comprehensive consideration of security, social and environmental aspects, particularly in priority areas such as ecological safety, comprehensive environmental conservation and prudent management of water resources.

“Only such approach will facilitate sustainable development of energy, especially as regards efficiency and safety of its nuclear sector,” said Mr. Yanukovych, whose country experienced what is considered the worst nuclear accident in history at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986.

The President noted that next year will mark the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear weapon State. “By ridding the world of its third largest nuclear arsenal, our country made an unprecedented contribution to the global nuclear disarmament,” he added.

He added that Ukraine will initiate the holding of a thematic conference on nuclear non-proliferation during the current session.

“We keep insisting: security assurances for the States which gave up their nuclear arsenals and countries which do not make part of military unions must be reflected in a legally binding international document,” said Mr. Yanukovych.

He also noted the importance of cyber security, which is becoming “more and more urgent” and would require strengthening control over the Internet against criminal use and against “other dangerous, primarily military ends.”

He said the UN should lead this process as it is “the best instrument for turning Internet into the space of freedom working in the interests and the benefit of all nations over the world.”

Turning to the theme of this General Assembly debate, “Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage,” Mr. Yanukovych said: “Ukraine will keep doing diligently its ‘homework’” towards achieving the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the national level.

The aim of the high-level debate, which wraps up on 1 October, is to discuss accelerated action towards the MDGs, and to discuss which issues should be included the sustainable agenda that will follow in the years after 2015. Political officials and other Government leaders will also discuss a host of other issues of national and global concern.

Among the ways to raise the welfare of Ukrainian citizens, he noted, is the signing this November of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, including the creation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

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