Ukraine-BSEC: What the Future Holds in Store

UA Historical Encounters V:

Ukraine-BSEC: What the Future Holds in Store

Yuri Sergeyev

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Ambassador Yuri Sergeyev delivered during Ukraine’s Historical Encounters V: Ukraine-BSEC, New York, NY, March 24, 2010.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset I would like to thank Doctor Zaryckyj for a very timely initiative to convene our today”s meeting to discuss possibilities and perspectives of the economic cooperation in the region of Black Sea with a special focus on Ukraine. I am also delighted that my UN colleagues are here today with us participating actively and constructively.

Today the BSEC region faces a number of challenges. Regarding the economic challenge, needless to say that the global economic crisis brought significant risks to the Black Sea states and it is a critical moment for the BSEC Organization to appropriately meet this challenge. Fortunately, we are in the period when the BSEC Family including the BSEC Organization, Parliamentary Assembly, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, Business Council and International Centre for Black Sea Studies proved their maturity by showing capability to implement initial goals.

The economic situation in Ukraine is not easy as well but both the Government and business energetically respond to negative developments. We believe that with consistent steps of Ukraine”s authorities we will cope with the challenges of the global crisis.

We can see how encouraging were joint efforts of the world community aimed at overcoming negative impacts of the global economic crisis for international mechanisms, primarily financial institutions, which were previously criticized for being inefficient and even obsolete.

However these very institutions have become a backbone of revitalization processes. In my opinion in the future pace of economic recovery the regional organizations will inevitably take on new special significance.

Considering the future of BSEC cooperation I cannot but agree with one of the conclusions of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank”s Regional Economic Forum, I quote: At the heart of all anti-crisis responses is the revitalization of the real economy, to the benefit of societies across the entire Black Sea region. Regional co-operation should be incorporated into the anti-crisis strategy of all the Black Sea governments, which underlines the need for closer coordination”, unquote.

Of course this is on Ukraine”s agenda as well.

To our opinion, the present global crisis represents a momentum for evaluation of the BSEC”s ability to mitigate its negative consequences and we believe that there is a vast institutional potential in the Organization, which could be utilized through existing regional cooperation mechanisms.

Nevertheless, in order to achieve this goal, the traditional forms of sectoral cooperation within the BSEC should be modified in order to meet the challenges posed by the economic processes.

The present realities reaffirm the need for the project-oriented approach in the BSEC activity.

We should be proud of the success of the largest ever BSEC project – the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, where Ukraine is one of the biggest shareholders with 13,5%. My country would like to see the future development of Bank activities on the way of supporting regional projects and crossborder operations in the key sectors of manufacturing, energy, transportation, telecommunications, financial sector, and promoting small business and regional trade.

Ukraine believes that the project-oriented approach should be considered as a fundamental one in all sectoral directions. The financial backing of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank has to become an essential basis for BSEC projects” implementation in each and every area of cooperation.

I also want to touch upon an issue of a regional strategy which would address in a systematic fashion the overall framework and action plan promoting a region-wide interaction between BSEC and the EU.

Ukraine like other BSEC Member States considers such interaction as an essential pre-requisite for further developing overall European economic, scientific and environmental cooperation in a spirit of friendship and good neighbourhood, further development and diversification of bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the basis of the principles and rules of international law.

It might help us to identify new windows for synergies as well as to coordinate our efforts with other various integration and cooperation formats, international organizations and institutions, in particular financial ones, acting in the BSEC area.

We hope that the Black Sea Regional Strategy will help the BSEC-EU interaction to become a truly forward-looking and promising framework, which can contribute to shaping the foundations of an enhanced regional relationship by the identification of a joint list of priority sectors and of possible sources of financing the creation of sectoral partnerships.

At the same time, it is our strong conviction that the Black Sea Regional Strategy originally based on the European Commission”s initiative Black Sea Synergy” has to take proper account of not only existing EU initiatives but also future ones.

Such an approach will – to some extent – ensure us that the Black Sea Regional Strategy will be elaborated as a truly forward-looking framework ready to contribute to shaping the foundations of an enhanced regional relationship.

For Ukraine this issue has an additional dimension. It is being considered as a part of realization of our strategy of European integration. As you know President Victor Yanukovych has recently reaffirmed that the integration into the EU is the main foreign policy course of Ukraine.

Ukraine was chairing the BSEC in May-October 1997, November 2001-April 2002 and November 2007 –April 2008.

During its chairmanship periods my country has been trying to present a coherent and balanced approach to the BSEC activities in all spheres. Beside a number of meetings of economic character in the field of banking, transport, custom, energy, logistic a number of other events took place, just to bring you an exemple: First security forum on settlement of long-lasting conflicts in the region, Forum of higher education and Congress of Rectors of Black Sea universities. It clearly shows multidimensional approach of Ukraine to BSEC. Such an attitude is expected to be reinforced in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The agenda of the present UN General Assembly, which is focused on the ways of overcoming negative consequences of the global economic and financial crisis by means of reforming the world financial systems and trade, requires adequate response within the BSEC as well.

The reality of the international cooperation today requires quick and precise actions to be taken in order to meet new challenges and to use opportunities. Thus, we should find the ways to improve mechanisms of interaction of our states within the BSEC.

Such interaction takes place in the UN premises as well. Each year the Ministers of the BSEC member states regularly gather in UN to discuss current agenda of Black Sea cooperation.

During its 63-rd session the General Assembly adopted by consensus the declaration Cooperation between the UN and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization”, which was co-sponsored by Ukraine. By this document the contribution of BSEC has been recognized to strengthening multilateral cooperation in the Black Sea region in such spheres as trade, development, energy, transport, health, environment, countering organized crime and drug trafficking . Resolution advises the UN Secretary General to further develop dialog with BSEC with aim to promote coordination between secretariats of the two organizations.

Such resolution was adopted not occasionally. BSEC has an observer status in UN since 1999. It has agreements and develops relations with UN Economic Commission for Europe, UNIDO, UNEP, UNDP.

I would like specially mention the joint BSEC-UNDP project Program of promoting trade and investments in the Black Sea region” first phase of which started in 2006. The second part of the program is planned to begin in 2010 but is subject of relevant financing.

Ukraine is strongly advocating continuation of this program.

Since 2008 BSEC is working together with UN Office on Drugs and crime in the framework of project on criminal justice in issues of drug trafficking and organized crime.

In 2009, just recently, the concept on preparation of joint BSEC-UNDP project Elaboration of strategy on protection of the Black Sea in the context of climate change” has been approved.

So, as you can see, the agenda of BSEC is quite topical in UN. Ukraine will continue consistently support the activities of United Nations regarding cooperation in the Black Sea region.

Participation in BSEC absolutely corresponds to national interests of Ukraine and gives wide opportunities to develop cooperation with Black Sea countries.

Ukraine is definitely going to reinforce its efforts on this path.

I thank you.