Statement regarding the voluntary national review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that Belarus is undergoing at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
We, the union of nineteen democratic youth organizations of Belarus, being created with the purpose of consolidating of youth organizations and initiatives of Belarus for representation, promotion and defending common interests, exercising right to freedoms of association and other constitutional rights, represented by the Governing Body – the Board of “RADA”, make the following statement:
“RADA” expresses its deepest regrets of the way the implementation, follow-up and review process of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development was performed by the Belarusian government and the practice of exclusion on of major groups – youth, independent and democratic youth organizations, specifically, “RADA” and other independent and democratic civil society organizations in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Voluntary National Review of Belarus.
On July 10-19, 2017, during the High-Level Political Forum, the Republic of Belarus, represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be responsible for presenting its national report on the work done towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to paragraphs 78 and 79 of the resolution 70/1 entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, member states of the UN are encouraged to involve stakeholders in the national voluntary reviews 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Paragraph 79 says the following: “We also encourage member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels which are country-led and country-driven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments, as well as other institutions, can also support these processes”.
In addition, “RADA” underlines that paragraph 74 of the resolution 70/1 states that follow-up and review processes at all levels will be guided by certain principles, including that “they will be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent for all people and will support the reporting by all relevant stakeholders” and that “they will be people-centred, gender- sensitive, respect human rights and have a particular focus on the poorest, most vulnerable and those furthest behind.” Young people have been recognised as a stakeholder that should be involved in sustainable development through previous UN documents, including Agenda 2030 and the resolution 66/288 entitled “The Future We Want”.
Further, “RADA” stands in a position that the only way to effectively implement the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is by ensuring that the member-state establishes partnership relations with all major groups and stakeholders in order to present a comprehensive, inclusive, diverse and accurate picture of the process.
The Governing Body of “RADA” encourages the representatives of international bodies and institutions to actively support and engage with this statement and recommends the Belarusian government to:
- To ensure transparency, openness and inclusive character of the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Voluntary National Review of Belarus that should be based on the principles of participatory and voluntary approach;
- To implement practical and transparent mechanisms and processes for inclusion of representatives of independent and democratic civil society organizations, including youth organizations, in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Voluntary National Review of Belarus;
- To store, disseminate and place all relevant information, data and reports on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Voluntary National Report of Belarus openly on publicly available resources and platforms;
- Eliminate a very formalized approach in choosing parties for cooperation among the civil society organizations, including youth organizations, on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Voluntary National Review of Belarus, namely only with NGOs registered by the state authorities.
Chairperson of the Belarusian National Youth Council “RADA”