[AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY]
Deputy Prime Minister (Andrey) Kobyakov,
Minister (Nikolay) Snopkov,
Deputy Minister (Sergey) Aleinik,
Ambassador (Mikhail) Khvostov,
Mr. Antonius Broek, UN Resident Coordinator,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The goal of this special session is to share, through the example of Belarus, how the UN Interagency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity is operationalizing the UN system´s coordinated contribution to the delivery of aid for trade.
In the context of the UN systemwide coherence reform, the Cluster is now recognized as an efficient mechanism to deliver country-specific and tailor-made assistance for responding to Governments´ development priorities. I am therefore pleased to co-chair this briefing and interactive debate with Mr. Andrei Kobyakov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus; the distinguished Minister of Economy; the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and the Ambassador of Belarus to the United Nations in Geneva. Welcome to all of you.
The Cluster was established in 2007 with the primary goal of advancing the Aid- for-Trade initiative. Since its inception and operation in the One UN pilots and other UNDAF processes, the Cluster has emphasized in all its activities that its objective is to deliver concrete trade-related assistance and capacity-building in view of mainstreaming trade into the UN´s national assistance plans and ensuring policy coherence:
1) Regarding the mainstreaming of trade into the UN´s national assistance plans:
The Cluster is increasingly effective at facilitating the inclusion of trade and trade-related assistance in UN country plans. Until 2007-2008, trade-related issues were marginalized and seen as outside the core mandates and goals of the UN system in the majority of UN Development Assistance Frameworks. In order to comply with General Assembly resolutions on development operations, and to achieve the goals of the UN systemwide coherence process, it is crucial to that trade-related assistance and the UN development operations are envisaged as one.
We are very pleased that in Belarus, the formulation of the United Nations Development Framework 2011-2015, coordinated by the Government and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Office, led to the inclusion of an outcome of this plan focused on trade, in particular the implications of the international trade dimension for the national economy. We are also pleased that the UNDAF formulation has been inclusive and allowed for the best possible interaction between the CEB Interagency Cluster, the Government and the UN country team based in Belarus. Several interagency missions have visited Belarus and close contacts have been established, via audio conference, among the various participants, whether at headquarters, in Geneva or in the field. The active participation of the Mission of Belarus in Geneva in each step of the process has also been noteworthy. Interaction between the Cluster and partners resulted in greater transparency and constructive dialogue, which can serve as an example to similar efforts elsewhere. In fact, the example of Belarus is already being followed by the United Nations in Azerbaijan and Georgia. We would strongly advise the countries involved in the formulation of a new UNDAF to use Belarus as a model.
2) Regarding policy coherence:
The joint programmes designed within the Cluster aim at establishing and building on complementarities between the various mandates of the collaborating agencies. Coordinated activities in various sectors or areas of assistance are conducive to greater effectiveness and a wider development impact than small, unconnected operations. Assistance that addresses supply-side needs and productive capacities has to be formulated and integrated with policy advice and legislative instruments in all trade and trade-related issues. This approach is in line with the main concept of aid for trade, whereby supply-side weaknesses are placed at the core of trade-related assistance.
We are very pleased that this approach has been so well operationalized in the first outcome of the UNDAF of Belarus. This part of the UNDAF covers issues at both the macro and micro economic levels. In this regard, the contribution of the Cluster is crucial to achieving policy coherence because the Cluster´s member agencies intervene in an articulated manner in several dimensions of the economy. They offer a unique range of expertise with the potential to achieve the widest and deepest development impact.
UNCTAD operations, undertaken in coordination and coherence within the Cluster, will consist mainly of implementing the recommendations of the Investment Policy Review presented yesterday at the meeting of UNCTAD´s Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission. In brief, these recommendations involve:
- Assistance to revise key laws and regulations;
- Strengthening the institutional capacity of Belarus to attract foreign investment;
- Assistance related to accession to the WTO through strengthened national policies, institutional capacity and expertise; and
- Strengthened national capacity for border crossing facilitation.
I now invite the participating agencies of the Cluster who are here today - UNECE, UNIDO and ITC - to present the activities they propose to carry out within the Cluster.
Finally, we would like to reiterate the importance of donor support for the Cluster´s operations in Belarus and look forward to a fruitful dialogue and cooperation with you in the near future.