Conference "On the way towards sustainable future: the ESG challenge"

The welcome address by Armen Martirosyan, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Belarus.

November 22, 2023
Photo: UNDP in Belarus

Dear participants of the Conference, 

Traditional models of business and financial management are undergoing significant changes.

Against the background of modern challenges, there is a demand for long-term investments, developing strategies and management mechanisms considering environmental, economic and social needs of people.

Dear colleagues,

The triple planetary crisis: climate change, declining biodiversity, and pollution, together with rising costs of living and deepening inequalities, are closely intertwined and threaten sustainable development worldwide. The future does not look cloudless.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled since 1980, raising the global average temperature by 0.7 degrees Celsius. 
  • The UN estimates that global economic growth in 2023 will show the lowest result in decades. 
  • More than one million species of flora and fauna are now at risk of extinction.

For the first time in 32 years, the Human Development Index declined in 90% of the world’s countries and returned to 2016 levels.

According to the 23rd Sustainable Development Report – none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be fully realized at the global level. 

Against the backdrop of these complex crises and challenges, the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved by stakeholders working alone.

To succeed, we need innovative partnerships that bring together the capabilities, knowledge and resources of governments, businesses, civil society organizations and academia. 

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, additional financial resources equivalent to between 5 and 6 trillion dollars a year are needed to achieve the SDGs.

In this context, I want to emphasize the leading role of the private sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Besides the traditional provision of goods and services, modern businesses are expected to create a more ethical and transparent business model that, apart from generating profits, aims to protect the environment and involve business in addressing social issues.

However, this requires a rethinking of business models.

The application of ESG, unlike previous concepts, takes into account risks and new opportunities for business, increases investor interest.

The development and implementation of new mechanisms to support sustainable development is an important strategic priority for UNDP. 

In collaboration with international experts and national partners, UNDP is implementing comprehensive initiatives in Belarus, which can become the basis for systemic application of ESG.

These include: 

  • assessing the contribution of government programs to the SDGs; 
  • development of green and circular economy strategy work plans; 
  • developing green and social enterprise SMEs; 
  • increasing the sustainability of small enterprises through digitalization of business processes (COVID-19).

Success in this area requires multi-stakeholder partnership and collaboration. UNDP is open to work on promoting and developing ESG practices in Belarus with all interested partners.

Photo: UNDP in Belarus

Dear colleagues, 

An important challenge for modern society is the need to recognize the changes that have already taken place and use them as a window of opportunity for development. 

The growth of technology, transformation of the living environment, digitalization and accelerating mobility, among other factors, are already shaping our future. We need new approaches and methodologies to perceive and analyze these changes. 

I hope that today's exchange of views and experience will be a good stimulus for forming a common vision of ESG agenda development in Belarus. 

I wish all participants interesting and productive work. 

Thank you for your attention.