*Originally submitted in Russian and translated to English by the Secretariat
Belarus is committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and considers that the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved through coordinated economic, social and environmental activities by all national partners under conditions of political stability and steady economic growth.
Two important factors in the achievement of the Goals are mutually beneficial cooperation at the regional and global levels and the sharing of knowledge and experience regarding innovations with the aim of building capacity and transferring technologies for development purposes.
A national coordination mechanism has been established in Belarus to form a comprehensive overview of the national circumstances and priorities in the 2030 Agenda implementation process, to take into account the cross-cutting and indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals and to achieve a balance between the three components of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental).
The institutional innovations include the establishment by the President of Belarus of the post of National Coordinator for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the establishment of a national council for sustainable development with the National Coordinator at its helm.
The activities of the council, which comprises the directors of 30 relevant national and regional government bodies, will help to increase the accountability of specific government agencies in the implementation of the Goals; establish a platform for intersectoral exchange and discussion of progress with regard to the implementation of the Goals; and ensure that the challenges of vertical and horizontal coordination are addressed more effectively.
The National Coordinator will monitor the implementation of the Goals at the national level and coordinate the efforts of all parties involved. To this end, discussions have been organized within the council, attended by representatives of specialized scientific and research bodies, non-governmental organizations and partners from among United Nations agencies and international organizations, on a broad range of issues regarding the achievement of specific sustainable development goals and challenges.
The National Coordinator will report to the Government and the President on progress with regard to the implementation of the Goals and will submit recommendations on how to improve the implementation process.
Parliamentary hearings and national consultations involving a wide range of partners, including civil society, also form part of the process of implementing and monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals.
Other partners in Belarus, together with United Nations agencies, are working to inform the Belarusian public about the 2030 Agenda in order to raise public awareness, create an enabling environment and mobilize domestic resources for the achievement of the Goals.
Belarus considers that making progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that nobody is left behind largely depend on high-quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data. The main difficulties faced by Belarus in establishing a national system of indicators on the basis of global indicators are the gaps in data and methodology. Full information is available for only 38 per cent of the indicators; there is partial information on 22 per cent of them; and there are no data or calculation methodologies in the case of almost 40 per cent of them.
Under the direction of the Belarusian Statistical Committee, public administration bodies have begun compiling a list of national indicators to be used as a basis for the establishment of a national system of indicators for monitoring the Goals.
It is envisaged that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals will be monitored through the joint efforts of central and local government bodies, with non-governmental and international partners also involved in the activities.
Key challenges in this regard are the strengthening of the statistical capacity of Belarus and coordination and collaboration between different participants in sustainable development processes.
Belarus has already taken a number of significant steps at the national level towards the practical implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Its activities started in 2015 when the Government approved the national strategy for sustainable socioeconomic development, which set out the main milestones to be achieved by 2030. The main aims of the strategy are to transform the model of the national economy from administrative to indicative planning; achieve a balance between public and private sector contributions to gross domestic product; develop the national economy; introduce the principles of a green economy in industry; promote innovative development and social support for the most needy; and create conditions in which every individual can achieve his or her potential.
Efforts are currently being made to harmonize the national strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals. In the near future, the Government will approve an updated national strategy based on the specific goals and challenges of the 2030 Agenda, taking into account the national system of sustainable development indicators.
Belarus views the incorporation of the Goals into national, sectoral and regional development strategies, programmes and plans as an important factor in the implementation at the national level of the 2030 Agenda. These strategies, programmes and plans specify the work to be carried out by the Government and central and local authorities, improvements to be made to legislation and the distribution of budget resources.
In December 2016, the programme for the socioeconomic development of the Republic of Belarus for the period until 2020 was adopted after extensive public discussion. The programme identified the maximizing of domestic resources — in particular the economy’s potential for innovation — and human development as the cornerstones of sustainable development.
A major development challenge is to improve the quality of life of the population by boosting the competitiveness of the economy, attracting investment and promoting innovative development. In order to achieve the stated goals, the development of Belarus will be geared towards the following priorities: ensuring sustainable economic growth through investment and innovation; investing in human development; strengthening social support for vulnerable groups; achieving gender equality; pursuing an active youth policy; and preserving environmental sustainability.
In Belarus, the Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved with account taken of the indicators included in the national, sectoral and regional strategies, programmes and plans. As the process of creating a national system of sustainable development indicators is completed, the indicators will be incorporated into the national monitoring and planning system.
Belarus considers the high-level political forum on sustainable development to be a unique platform for exchanging best practices, drawing up recommendations for surmounting challenges to sustainable development and developing effective strategic and coordinated measures for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
An important driver of sustainable development at the national level is the study, adaptation and application of international best practices. Belarus stands ready to share its best practices with regard to sustainable development with the international community.
Belarus welcomes, in addition to the universal scope of the high-level political forum, the systematic analysis of the regional aspects of sustainable development, with particular focus on emerging trends and difficulties and on coordinated responses and measures for tackling the most pressing issues.
Sustainable development issues for middle-income countries warrant serious consideration at the high-level political forum. If equitable progress is to be achieved, it is crucial to broaden the support of the United Nations system for this category of States, which accounts for a sizeable proportion of the global population and the global economy. It will not be possible to achieve all three components of sustainable development without addressing the economic and social problems of these countries and ensuring their active involvement in the achievement of the Goals at both the national and the international levels.
In its first voluntary national review, Belarus will consider the issues of prosperity, a healthy lifestyle and well-being as priorities, within the framework of the main theme of the 2017 high-level political forum: eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world. It will also focus on the Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda related to food security and sustainable agriculture, health care, education, gender equality, employment and demographics, and also the building of resilient infrastructure and the promotion of sustainable industrialization and innovation.
Particular attention will be paid in the review to the cross-cutting issue of “leaving no one behind”, as well as to revitalizing and strengthening a global partnership that brings together Governments, the United Nations system, civil society, the private sector and other actors, with the aim of mobilizing all available resources for the achievement of sustainable development.