H.E. Mr. V.N. Drazhin
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus

at the 
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
4 September 2002

Highly Esteemed Mr. President, 
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

        First of all, I would like to congratulate President of the Summit, President of the Republic of South Africa His Excellency Tabo Mbeki on the election to this post. The delegation of the Republic of Belarus expresses its gratitude to the people and Government of the Republic of South Africa for their hospitality and excellent organization of the Summit.

        Belarus is highly appreciative of the UN initiative to thoroughly reconsider prospects of sustainable human development. I am confident that this event will give a powerful impetus to the search for an effective formula of international co-operation and will result in justified recommendations to the world community on how to further implement the Agenda 21.

        Evaluating the outcomes of our work, we have to state with deep concern that nowadays we are still far from achieving the development goals contained in the final documents of the Rio Conference and Millennium Summit.

       There are many reasons for that. Amongst them are a lack of political will of developed states in resolving sustainable development issues in the spirit of international solidarity; underdeveloped national capacities, and actively progressing globalization processes. It took us some time to realize unavoidable interdependence and, consequently, mutual responsibilities in a fast-paced world.

      The efforts to achieve sustainable development have been undermined by sequels of the global financial crises, the emergency of a so-called digital divide as a result of fast-evolving information and communication technologies, the spread of dangerous infectious diseases, in the first instance, HIV/AIDS.

       International terrorism is now a global challenge to peaceful development of humankind.

       Needless to say, states bear the major responsibility for achieving their own sustainable development. It was not for nothing that one of the main themes at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey was an appeal not to wait for assistance, but rather 'to learn to fish by themselves' should however like to note that one of the preconditions for this sober idea to be translated into reality is a favorable international economic and financial environment.

      In this context equal integration of developing states and those with economies in transition into the world economy remains a deep problem.

       At different estimates, only the fulfillment of agreements already reached in multilateral trade talks is capable of generating additional benefits worth 130 billion US dollars a year to countries in need. Just compare: up to year 2015 additional expenditures to achieve the development goals identified in the Millennium Declaration amount to about 50 biliion US dollars a year.

       In other words, the potential gain from broadening equal access to world markets for developing states and ones with economies in transition is far more significant than that from direct financial assistance.

      At the same time, a stable world market with fair and transparent ground rule is also the keystone of sustainable development.

       One of the ways of achieving that is a universal membership in the World Trade Organization. Every support should be rendered to countries interested in becoming a WTO member.

       Speaking of today's global problems, one cannot but touch upon the concept of so-called global public goods. According to this concept, each state dealing with modern challenges also makes a meaningful contribution to sustainable development on a global scale.

        The Republic of Belarus rightfully regards itself as an active participant in the universal process of ensuring global public goods.

        Our country fully implements provisions of the most important international agreements in the field of environmental protection. Within the framework of the event 'Focus 2002 - Sustainable Development' Belarus has joined the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the UN Convention on Biodiversity.

Belarus is an active party to major international treaties to combat international terrorism and crime.

       By virtue of Belarus' specific geographic position in Europe we realize our special responsibility for stability on the continent. Our state actively counteracts illegal migration, illicit trafficking in drugs and other kinds of transnational organized crime. By doing so we contribute to European countries coming along the road to sustainable development.

        Unfortunately, Belarus has another tragic reason for realizing the universal responsibility of states for sustainable development. Over 16 years has passed since the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. But even now the mitigation of the Chernobyl consequences is a nationwide problem in Belarus.

        In our case we have the right to say that the notion 'mitigation of the Chernobyl consequences' and the notion 'achievement of sustainable development' are identical. The aftermath of the accident has considerably impeded socio-economic progress in our state distracting colossal financial, material and human recourses for its mitigation.

       We hope that the outcomes of the Summit and the adopted UN strategy to mitigate the consequences of the Chernobyl NNP accident in the context of sustainable development will allow mobilizing adequate financial recourses to jointly withstand the Chernobyl sequels. For our state it will become one of the major indicators of the Johannesburg Summit being successful.

        Mr. President,

        I should like to note that the Republic of Belarus is supportive of the proposed Political Declaration and Implementation Plan. It is my hope that the outcomes of this Summit will become a well-known landmark in the development of international co-operation and partnerships for resolving global problems of modern times.

          From this high floor I declare that Belarus will continue to actively cooperate with all parties concerned, both in the UN, and on a regional level in order to achieve sustainable development goals.

          Thank you for your attention.