Activities of Secretary-General in Russian Federation, 17-19 March



Press release

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Moscow in the evening of 17 March after an overnight flight from New York and a brief stopover in Frankfurt.

On arrival in Moscow, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by Frode Mauring, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Zurab Tsereteli, a noted sculptor and artist, at the artist’s gallery in central Moscow.

On 18 March, the Secretary-General started the day with two wide-ranging interviews ‑‑ one with Alexei Venediktov, Editor-in-Chief of Ekho Moskvy radio station, and one with anchorwoman Irina Rossius of Russia 24, a television news channel. In those interviews, the Secretary-General outlined the bilateral aspects of his visit to Moscow and the Quartet meeting on the Middle East.

The Secretary-General then held talks at the Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry mansion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials. At a press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General commended Minister Lavrov for convening the Quartet meeting and said he was encouraged by the status of Russian Federation-United States talks on nuclear arms control.

The Secretary-General also signed a joint declaration with the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). That declaration is aimed at pragmatic and targeted cooperation between the organizations, the United Nations Secretary-General said.

Next, the Secretary-General headed to the Kremlin for a working luncheon with President Dmitry Medvedev. They discussed the Middle East, arms control, Haiti, Iran and other topics, including cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United Nations. After the luncheon, the Secretary-General made a brief stop for a walk across Red Square, accompanied by officials including Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The Secretary-General then went to MGIMO University, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he received an enthusiastic welcome from students. He had a brief meeting with the rector of MGIMO, Anatoly Torkunov, who also chairs the United Nations Association of the Russian Federation. The Secretary-General then delivered a lecture to the students after receiving an honorary doctorate. In his address, which was televised, the Secretary-General urged students to aim high and to strive to be global citizens. He answered several questions from the university’s multinational student body.

After a meeting with the United Nations country team, the Secretary-General attended a dinner with the other principal members of the Quartet and had a bilateral meeting with Tony Blair, the Quartet Representative.

On 19 March, the Secretary-General took part in the Quartet meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Catharine Ashton, a Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, and Quartet Representative Blair. After the meeting, the Secretary-General read a statement on behalf of the Quartet. He noted that Israel had approved a package of United Nations humanitarian projects to be carried out in Gaza.

The Secretary-General then held a round-table luncheon with a group of senior editors and journalists from Russian media. He also held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff before heading to the airport to fly to the Middle East via Vienna.

Link to the Statement of the Middle East Quartet

Link to UN Secretary-General address at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations




Sustainable development of the Russian economy can no longer be provided by extensive development of energy resources. Increasing energy efficiency is the country’s major energy, economic and social resource required for Russia’s transition from the “raw materials export oriented” to sustainable innovative development, mitigation of the negative impact of the energy sector on people’s health and environment.


“Energy preparedness and environmental safety as well as energy and budget efficiency are the cornerstones of the long-term government policy,” noted Minister of Energy of the RF, Sergey Shmatko, in the preface to the Report. Formation of an adequate modern regulatory system as well as proper legal environment, consumer and governance mechanisms are necessary for achieving these goals. The Report is of interest and help to all those concerned with these problems.


The Report includes eight chapters. In the chapter ‘The Energy Sector, the Economy and the Crisis’ the authors note that the ‘resource curse’ factors can suppress motivation for investments in human development and its effective utilization. Low energy effectiveness dilutes relative advantages of the Russian economy in the energy sector creating obstacles and postponing human development, leads to environmental impacts creating public health hazards.


Despite the fact that fuel and energy territories with the highest oil and gas reserves and , consequently, high personal and budget incomes, have succeeded in increasing life expectancy, reducing infant mortality and improving the vocational education system, their high profits do not help fight illnesses that depend on the state of society. This requires modernization of the social environment and lifestyles. The chapter ‘Energy Industry and the Regions: Human Development Challenges’ provides an insight into development of fuel and energy territories.


In the chapter 3, ‘Personal Incomes, the Energy Sector and the Crisis’, the authors conclude that income generated by the resource oriented economy is sufficient for forming the country’s tax base and high incomes for a small group of people. It is highly important to realise that these incomes do not guarantee effective employment for the majority of the population. The chapter also looks at the cause and effect of a low share of expenditures on housing and utilities in Russian household budgets compared to other countries.


In Chapter 4, ‘The Energy Sector and Public Health’, the authors claim that environmental pollution caused by the energy sector is a health hazard. Atmospheric pollution causes up to 40,000 deaths among urban population annually with at least 15-20% caused by the fuel and energy complex. Modern technologies should be implemented to reduce the negative impact of all segments of the energy sector, including extraction, refining, transportation, heat and energy generation.


Chapter 5, ‘Energy-efficient Russia’, looks at the country’s energy efficiency ratings and the energy saving potential in main sectors of the Russian economy. Russia’s energy efficiency potential is one of the biggest in the world representing almost half of the country’s current energy consumption. The chapter discusses the advantages of energy efficiency compared to extensive energy resource use.


Chapter 6, ‘Opportunities for Renewable Energy Sources’, is devoted to renewables. Russia is at the initial stage of creating a strong renewable energy industry. In recent years, the business community has demonstrated interest in the area, and a lot has been done in terms of legislation for development of renewables. However so far this activity has not been coordinated and is facing a number of problems, in particular, the lack of state support mechanisms and understanding on the part of society, the limited number of qualified specialists, etc.


In chapter 7, ‘The Energy Industry and Environmental Sustainability’, environmental impact of the fuel and energy complex is presented in the context of economic and social consequences. The situation in Russia is characterized as energy and environmental malaise. Today, Russia is a global environmental donor because the impact of its economy on the environment is much lower than the valuable input of its ecosystems into the global environmental stability, however due to the negative impact of the fuel and energy complex development Russia may lose this status.


Chapter 8, ‘The Energy Industry and Sustainable Development Indicators’, discusses the need to correct the traditional development indicators, as highlighted by the global economic crisis, and analyzes the opportunities for including the energy factor in sustainability indicators, such as energy intensity, the Adjusted Net Savings Index, etc. The authors present recommendations on using sustainable development indicators in decision making processes.


“Russia is a major player at the global energy market and a global environmental donor, and still has to find an optimum combination of energy preparedness and environmental sustainability in its own interests and in the interests of energy exporting countries,” highlighted UNDP Resident Representative in the RF, Frode Mauring.


Current economic recession provides new opportunities for creation and implementation of new approaches to development including the transformation of the energy sector, mainly formed in the second half of the 20th century, into modern high-tech and safe industry of the 21st century.


The Report prepared for UNDP by a group of independent experts is aimed at contributing to the discussion of post-crisis development and a deeper understanding of the role of the energy sector in Russia’s socio-economic development.


For more information please contact Victoria Zotikova, UNDP Communications Analyst, at 787 21 00, 769 97 91 or by e-mail