Join Hands to Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Development in The Asia-Pacific Region
Remarks by Wu Hailong, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Bangkok, 23 May 2011
It gives me great pleasure to attend the 67th Commission Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Committee for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok. I wish to thank the Thai government and ESCAP Secretariat for the thoughtful arrangements for the meeting.
Thirty years ago, when I was a young man, ESCAP was my first diplomatic posting. Today, I feel like coming back home again. I look forward to exchanging views with you on promoting development in the Asia-Pacific region.
We are here today to discuss sustainable and inclusive development, which are issues both old and new. They are old issues because they were raised many years ago. And at the same time, they are new issues in the sense that they have become the focus of international agenda in recent years. After the international financial crisis, in particular, the world has paid even closer attention to ways to achieve the sustainable, coordinated and inclusive development of the economy and society. It reflects the international community's rethinking and new understanding of development models and development concepts. What has happened shows that it is unsustainable to pursue economic development alone while neglecting social development or seek efficiency in disregard of equality. When the fruits of development cannot be shared by all people, such development will only be unsustainable.
Sustainable development and inclusive development are mutually complementing and reinforcing. It is both the goal and a long-term task for all of us. In this regard, I have the following observations to share with you:
First, we should maintain the appropriate growth of the economy. Inclusive development is not a simple denial of growth. To maintain appropriate growth of the economy has always been the precondition for social development. This is especially true for developing countries. The Asia-Pacific countries should seize the opportunities provided by world economic recovery and work for steady and sustained growth of their own economies and the region as a whole. To achieve this goal, we should enhance economic cooperation and trade, facilitate intra-regional trade and expand regional demand.
Second, we should explore new economic growth patterns. Many countries in the region have problems such as the lack of diversity in the economic growth pattern and over-reliance on export. The problems of waste in resources and environmental pollution are also quite prominent. We should follow the trend of the time and readjust the economic structure. We should explore new areas of growth in the economy and make innovation the driving force for future development. We should actively develop green economy and circular economy and pursue balanced growth of domestic and external demands and sustainable development.
Third, we should take concrete steps to improve people's well-being. The ultimate goal of economic development is to improve people's well-being and living standards. The Asia-Pacific countries should pay greater attention to social security, and work through measures such as stronger institutional building and more financial support to build an inclusive social security system that is accessible to all and enables everyone to benefit from the fruits of growth. To put it simply, we will work for a fair and just social environment. We will, in particular, work to create conditions for the under-privileged groups to let them see the hopes of survival and development. In this way, all people will be able to participate in economic and social development and benefit from the fruits of development.
The dynamic development of regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region has promoted regional integration. ESCAP, as the only comprehensive inter-governmental organization for economic and social development of the UN system in the Asia Pacific, faces both challenges and opportunities. We have noted that under the leadership of Madame Executive Secretary, ESCAP has made progress in reforming the conference structure and improving efficiency and won wide support from all parties. We hope that ESCAP will continue to make the most of its comparative advantages, and play an important role in regional cooperation. We may give priority to efforts in the following areas. First, we need to pay attention to the real needs of countries in this region and help them improve capabilities of self-development through policy guidance, technology support, capacity building and other flexible means. Second, we need to place more importance on global issues and make forward-looking studies on major topics, such as global economic governance, climate change and commodity prices. By doing so, we will be able to listen to the views of the Asia-Pacific countries in a timely manner and speak on their behalf. Third, we should use this year's Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Asia-Pacific Region for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to coordinate positions of countries in this region, safeguard common interests and work for outcomes in favor of the Asia-Pacific countries at next year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.
It is easier known than done. As the most populous developing country, China is under resources and environment constraints. The problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development has been quite acute. In its newly-formulated 12th five-year plan, the Chinese government put forward in explicit terms that in order to meet the expectations of the Chinese people for a better life, we will focus on faster transformation of economic development pattern, deepen reform and opening up, and ensure and improve people's well-being with a view to achieving sustained, balanced and fast economic growth and social harmony and stability. To be specific, we will focus our efforts in the following areas.
- Keeping economic strategic restructuring as a major task in transforming the economic development pattern, we will work for sound interactions and coordinated development of different regions in China.
- Keeping scientific and technological progress and innovation as an important support for the transformation, we will improve our innovation capability, and build an innovation-driven country.
- Keeping safeguarding and improving people's well-being as the ultimate goal of the transformation, we will enable each and every Chinese to benefit from the fruits of development.
- Keeping building a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society as our focal endeavor in the transformation, we will follow the path of sustainable development.
- Keeping reform and opening up as a powerful driving force for the transformation, we seek to work with the rest of the international community to meet challenges and share development opportunities.
As an Asia-Pacific country, China attaches great importance to developing mutually-beneficial cooperation with other Asia-Pacific countries and international organizations including ESCAP. Based on the experience of past cooperation, priorities on our agenda for the near future include the following. First, we will ensure that our cooperation projects produce real effects. We will integrate the wishes of the parties involved with development needs of the Asia Pacific, pool funds and resources and select fields that matter most to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in conducting our key cooperation projects. Second, we will improve the quality of cooperation. We will pay more attention to the long-term effect of cooperation and take concrete steps to improve capacity building for the parties involved so as to enhance their own "blood-making" capacity. Third, we will expand fields of cooperation. We are ready to work with ESCAP and other regional cooperation mechanisms to discuss how to address emerging global and regional issues, with a view to enhancing the capacity of Asia-Pacific countries and ESCAP in tackling the new challenges. With its further development, China will make greater contribution to the region and ESCAP.
To conclude, I wish this meeting a full success.