the country i chose is Russia

Rowley 11

Sustainable Development in Belarus

Casey Rowley

Course Title

Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev

December 27, 2018

Introduction

The interconnected nature and continuous growth of developed and developing economies put a stress on the environment that threatens our ecosystem. The stress placed on our environment comes from, among other things, our consumption and waste of natural and unnatural resources. Over time, recognizing the strain on our ecosystem resulted in the creation of sustainable development as a concept. The focus of this research is on the history of sustainable development and how it applies to Belarus.

The concept of sustainable development came about during the time Belarus established its independence. Under the leadership of Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus has built a sustainable development model unique to its authoritarian regime and landlocked country. Understanding the history of sustainable development and the creation of sustainable development goals through the United Nations will provide the necessary context for us to explain how Belarus has built and implemented its model of sustainable development.

The History of Sustainable Development

Different points regarding sustainable development were first discussed during the 18th and 19th centuries economic theorists like Adam Smith and later Karl Marx. Sustainable development initially focused on clean air, water, and renewable resources. In 1980, the term sustainable development was used in the field of forestry.[footnoteRef:1] Sustainable development in the field of forestry discouraged the harvesting of connected forests at a rate that prevented the renewal of those forests. Concerns were raised in the 1970s with the recognition that human consumption put pressure on the environment. At this time, thought was being given to the limited natural resources and the need future generations would have for it. Specific concerns include global climate change, natural catastrophes, and hunger and poverty. [1: Tomislav Klarin, “The Concept of Sustainable Development: From Its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues,” Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business 21, no. 1 (2018): 70, doi:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005.]

A group of economists, scientists, and humanists from developed countries met in Rome in 1968 to discuss current problems and future challenges facing humans.[footnoteRef:2] The group published two important documents that appealed to the world for a change of behaviors towards the planet. The Roman club was one group that made large contributions to the creation of sustainable development as a concept. The United Nations is credited with the largest contribution to the concept of sustainable development. The goals of the United Nations include “maintaining peace and security in the world, promoting sustainable development, protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms, promoting the international law, suppressing the poverty and promoting the mutual tolerance and cooperation.”[footnoteRef:3] The United Nations brought major countries together with a common purpose that included sustainable development as part of its defined goal. [2: Tomislav Klarin, “The Concept of Sustainable Development: From Its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues,” Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business 21, no. 1 (2018): 71, doi:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005.] [3: Tomislav Klarin, “The Concept of Sustainable Development: From Its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues,” Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business 21, no. 1 (2018): 71, doi:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005.]

In 1983 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) was established to develop a global change program.[footnoteRef:4] In 1987 Sustainable Development, the Brundtland Report was published and, the concept of sustainable development was more clearly defined. The report analyzed the conditions of the world looking at socio-economic development and order, environmental degradation, population growth, poverty, politics, and wars. The report defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.”[footnoteRef:5] The concepts that came from the Brundtland Report addressed the balance between human needs and environmental pressures. The report is foundational to the modern concept of sustainable development. [4: Tomislav Klarin, “The Concept of Sustainable Development: From Its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues,” Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business 21, no. 1 (2018): 74, doi:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005.] [5: A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I) REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT.” United Nations. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm.]

Leading up to the Earth Summit in 1992 where 178 countries would attend to define a global framework for solving environmental issues, several documents were adopted. Two documents that were adopted help us understand the framework used to create sustainable development goals, The Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. “The Rio Declaration contains 27 principles of sustainable development on the rights and responsibilities of the United Nations.”[footnoteRef:6] The first principle puts humans at the center of concerns for sustainable development. The Rio Declaration also discusses states sovereign right to develop and utilize their resources but should preserve the environment. The declaration discusses global cooperation and consideration of the environment. [6: Tomislav Klarin, “The Concept of Sustainable Development: From Its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues,” Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business 21, no. 1 (2018): 75, doi:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005.]

Agenda 21 is a non-binding global program with objectives of sustainable development and action plans and resources for their implementation. Agenda 21 is broken up into four parts: Social and Economic Dimensions, Conservation and Management of Resources for Development, Strengthening the Role of Major Groups, and Means of Implementation. Each section discusses topics like addressing poverty, helping developing countries, protecting our environment.[footnoteRef:7] The Rio Declaration defines the principles for sustainable development in the eyes of the United Nation and Agenda 21 describes the goals and implementation of those goals. [7: “A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I) REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT,” United Nations, accessed December 05, 2018, http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm]

When a country is creating sustainable development goals, the principles and action plan created from the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 are commonly the foundation from which to start. More commonly, sustainable development goals are created through the United Nations and countries align their goals to these.

In 2002, the United Nations met for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss sustainable development goals for the period 2002-2012. The goals established for the period include – the eradication of extreme poverty, universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development.

Understanding the history of sustainable development and the framework created through the creation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration help clarify the context in which Belarus built their sustainable development goals through the period 2002-2012.

Since the adoption of Agenda 21 and the commitment made by parties to the Millennium Development Goals, Belarus has worked to align its sustainable development goals with those defined by the United Nations. Belarus has taken the principles from the Rio Declaration and the action plan from Agenda 21 and adapted it to meet the geographic and cultural needs that make Belarus unique. The goals in which Belarus measures its success against come from the Millennium Development Goals established in 2002.

Belarus’s Sustainable Development Model

In 2002, the United Nations began implementing all of Agenda 21 and setting goals in accordance. The first period and set of goals implemented in the spirit of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration was called the Millennium Development Goals. The eight goals discussed are those that Belarus is using in the National Report on Sustainable Development of the Republic of Belarus Based on “Green” Economy Principles. This document provides insight into Belarus’ model of sustainable development. The Belarusian model of sustainable development is unique to Belarus and includes the following major goals:

Development and adoption of long-term and medium-term program and forecasting documents, focused on sustainable socio-economic development of Belarus in various spheres, continuous improvement of national legislation to bring it into conformity with the principles of sustainable development, development of civil society, and above all, environmental non-governmental organizations, Possibilities for integrated solutions in the field of public economics, ecology and social development, research and innovation infrastructure relevant to sustainable development goals, and developed environmental monitoring and ecological statistics systems.[footnoteRef:8] [8: “Sustainable Development of Belarus Based on “green” Economy Principles,” UNDP in Belarus, accessed December 06, 2018, http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/library/environment_energy/publication_1.html.]

The model is based on the principles of Agenda 21 but add characteristics that recognize the strong authority of the state and integration to other CIS countries. Belarus’s national strategy for sustainable development up to 2020 focuses on three components defined in the National Strategy for Sustainable Development up to 2020. These include the Economy, Social sphere, and Environment. Belarus economic goals encompass to move to a “green economy,” reduce poverty improve human development, improve civil society, and ensure demographic security. Belarus’s social goals include raising the quality of consumer goods and services, raising wages and pensions, restructuring the economy and modernizing production, creating more “green” jobs, and other measures that will improve research and development. Lastly, environmental goals specific to Belarus include – the improvement of their regulatory system, adoption of environmental management programs that meet European standards, the introduction of resource-saving techniques, and several other goals that aim to reduce Belarus’s impact on the environment while modernizing the economy.[footnoteRef:9] Despite the adoption of unique goals, Belarus strives to meet international commitments to sustainable development. [9: “Sustainable Development of Belarus Based on “green” Economy Principles,” UNDP in Belarus, 11, accessed December 06, 2018, http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/library/environment_energy/publication_1.html.]

Laws in Belarus fall in line with international agreements made related to environmental protections in the country. Belarus has developed laws that protect the Wetlands, an area that is crucial to the environment in Europe. The Belarusian government expresses its commitment to improving the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to levels set by the United Nations. The National Report on Sustainable Development of The Republic of Belarus Based on “Green” Economy Principles highlights Belarus’s strategy to reduce emissions and increase the absorption of greenhouse gases in Belarus and a national program to mitigate climate change for the period 2008-2012. Belarus is working to integrate the goals defined in the UN Millennium Declaration (period 2002-2015) to its unique country.

Belarus’s focus and Achievements

For the period following the adoption of Agenda 21 and creation of the Millennium Development Goals, Belarus focused sustainable development primarily on Social, Economic, and Environmental improvements. The following paragraphs will cover

Belarus has seen social progress in several areas in the period 2002-2012 that primarily focus on monetary increases for the individual and the country. The social and economic dimensions of sustainable development defined in Agenda 21 primarily focus on poverty, consumption behaviors, health, and achieving sustainable populations. Belarus’s social policy focuses primarily on increased income, employment, increasing life expectancy, and fertility rates. Several laws have been passed in Belarus to promote these goals. In the period 2002-2010 Belarus has seen an increase in life expectancy with men’s expectancy in 2010 64.6 and women’s expectancy at 76.5 years. The standard of living for the citizens of Belarus also increased in terms of real income by 3.3 times.[footnoteRef:10] The social goals implemented to improve the lives of Belarusian citizens while benefiting the state. The increase in monetary gain by Belarusian citizens results in a more stable economy as a whole for Belarus. The social improvements point to serving more economic progress than social. [10: “Sustainable Development of Belarus Based on “green” Economy Principles,” UNDP in Belarus, 16, accessed December 06, 2018, http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/library/environment_energy/publication_1.html.]

The economic and social model discussed in Agenda 21 overlap as their goals seek to improve the lives of humans. The economic development and goals emphasized in Belarus’s National Report highlight the move from being the “assembly line” of the USSR to becoming a “socially oriented and highly efficient economy aimed at export.[footnoteRef:11] Belarus has focused on economic security based on exporting goods as well as importing. Initially, Belarus did not open up trade with other nations when independence was established. When Belarus changed its approach, it became a highly integrated economy. The National Report acknowledges Belarus lacking to meet all of the goals laid out in Agenda 21 as it relates to the consumption of raw materials. Without access to raw materials, Belarus finds it necessary to extract resources from the ground which impacts the environment negatively. [11: “Sustainable Development of Belarus Based on “green” Economy Principles,” UNDP in Belarus, 18, accessed December 06, 2018, http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/library/environment_energy/publication_1.html.]

The Belarusian model of sustainable development specific to the environment is more aligned with the goals set in the Millennium Development plan. For this period Belarus improved areas include the reduction of C02 emissions, industrial and consumer waste, and renewable resources. Belarus as a land-locked country that is dependent on others for most of its natural resources is becoming increasingly focused on renewable energy. For this reason, C02 emissions in Belarus have decreased by 56% of the 1990 levels between the period 1990-2010.[footnoteRef:12] Belarus has implemented the sustainable development goals defined for the period 2002-2012 in ways that improve the economy and, as a byproduct, has improved the social conditions in the country. As new sustainable development goals are developed for the period 2015-2030 it will be interesting to see how Belarus adapts the goals for their needs. [12: “Sustainable Development of Belarus Based on “green” Economy Principles.” UNDP in Belarus. Accessed December 06, 2018. http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/library/environment_energy/publication_1.html. ]

Conclusion

The 17 ambitious sustainable development goals laid out by the United Nations for the period 2015-2030 attempt to solve a wide range of issues. The goals include, but are not limited to, ending poverty, zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, and affordable and clean energy. Belarus intended to participate in sustainable development and expressed its commitment to the implementation of the goals. In news coverage, Belarus has also expressed its commitment to sustainable development. The past is indicative of what should be expected in Belarus’ future.

From the establishment of Belarus’s independence and the creation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration, Belarus has looked at sustainable development pragmatically. In the implementation of sustainable development goals defined in the Millennium Development Goals, Belarus took an approach that is specific to the governmental structure and conditions of Belarus, ensuring to include a strong state authority in its characteristics. Based on the previous implementation of sustainable development, it should be expected that sustainable development in Belarus will continue at a steady pace. It should also be expected that Belarus will position sustainable development goals in areas important to the country. The geographic location of Belarus and the dependence on Russia for oil makes renewable energy a priority for Belarus.

Works Cited

“10 Ways Humans Impact the Environment.” Interesting Engineering. September 10, 2018. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://interestingengineering.com/10-ways-humans-impact-the-environment.

“A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I) REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT.” United Nations. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm.

“Agenda 21.:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.” United Nations. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/outcomedocuments/agenda21.

“Belarus: Agenda – 2030. The Future of Our Planet Is in Our Hands.” UNDP in Belarus. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2018/02/06/belarus-agenda-2030-the-future-of-our-planet-is-in-our-hands.html.

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Cassen, R.H. “Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.” Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987. Accessed December 5, 2018. doi:10.2307/2621529.

“Conference, Meeting, Event, Observance, Celebration, International Day, World Day, Session.” United Nations. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://www.un.org/en/events/pastevents/millennium_summit.shtml.

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“Delivering on Commitments.” MDG Fund. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://www.mdgfund.org/node/922.

Klarin, Tomislav. “The Concept of Sustainable Development: From Its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues.” Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business21, no. 1 (2018): 67-94. doi:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005.

“Sustainable Development of Belarus Based on “green” Economy Principles.” UNDP in Belarus. Accessed December 06, 2018. http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/library/environment_energy/publication_1.html.

“Why Do the Sustainable Development Goals Matter?” UN Environment. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/sustainable-development-goals/why-do-sustainable-development-goals-matter.

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