MINSK, 6 February (BelTA) – Minsk plans to host an international conference on children and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2019, Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN Valentin Rybakov said as he addressed the first regular session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) which is running in the UN Headquarters in New York on February 5-7, BelTA has learned.
The diplomat noted that this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and that Belarus has made visible progress in matters of child protection, reducing child mortality rate and expanding children's access to education and healthcare. “We do not intend to stop at this. We believe that the 2030 Agenda cannot be implemented effectively without ensuring the rights of children. In this context, we would like to note that this year Minsk plans to host an international conference on children and SDGs,” Valentin Rybakov noted.
He also commended the work of the UNICEF country office and the level of interaction with UNICEF in general. As one of the latest examples of fruitful cooperation Valentin Rybakov cited a memorandum signed between the Minsk European Games Organizing Committee (MEGOC) and UNICEF in late 2018. “We appreciate effective cooperation with Dr. Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, UNICEF representative in Belarus and one of Star Ambassadors of the European Games,” Valentin Rybakov added.
The Belarusian diplomat also stressed that Belarus views the European Games, which will be held in Minsk in June 2019, not only as the most important sport event of the year but also as a social project. “We are convinced that sport is an effective way to ensure full inclusion of children with disabilities in the society,” he said.
Valentin Rybakov lauded the reform to separate the functions of the Resident Coordinators (RCs) of the UN system in each country from those of the resident representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which was launched on 1 January. He said that the reform heralded the next stage in the work of the UN Sustainable Development system on the ground, although it still requires some polishing-up. “Being a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Belarus is actively involved in the process of drawing up a financial agreement and is ready to cooperate with the new head of the transition team Gunilla Olsson, who was appointed from UNICEF in early 2019,” the diplomat said.
The Belarusian diplomat welcomed UNICEF's work to implement the reform agreed by the member states to reposition the UN system and lauded the UNICEF leadership role in matters of private partnership and data on the SDG at the country level.