A group of states around Russia wants to block several statements that should be adopted by the global community during the upcoming UN general debate. This includes, among other things, a text that was intended to reaffirm the United Nations’ sustainability goals today.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres had described the paper as a “quantum leap” towards reviving the development goals, which had fallen behind schedule. A corresponding letter dated Sunday was signed by Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, in addition to Russia.

“Legitimate concerns ignored”

In the letter to the President of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis, available to the German Press Agency, the eleven signatories complain about sanctions to which states are subject and which harm their development. During the negotiations on the declarations, “the legitimate concerns of a large number of developing countries were ignored.” Russia was hit with a series of punitive measures for its invasion of Ukraine.

The blockade could jeopardize the success of a high-level summit that the United Nations considers to be central. The declaration was actually intended to be adopted unanimously and, among other things, support a reform of the international financial structure. With this, poor countries should be able to get cheaper loans and access to more money from the World Bank, among others.

Sustainability goals: extremely set back

In 2015, the world’s states set central goals for global development with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which aim to improve education and end hunger and extreme poverty by 2030. But the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine and a debt crisis in poor countries have severely set back the achievement of the goals. It initially remained unclear how the United Nations would respond to the letter.