The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), formulated on the basis of the Millennium Declaration adopted at the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations in 2000, are the most comprehensive, authoritative and explicit set of goals of the international community in the field of development. They are important indicators for measuring the level of development and guiding international development cooperation. Over the years, countries have actively implemented the MDGs and made positive progress in areas such as reducing poverty, achieving universal primary education, lowering child mortality and improving maternal health. However, the implementation is uneven, and problems facing developing countries such as insufficient funds, lack of technical means and weak capacities have not been fundamentally addressed. The global financial crisis, food and energy security, climate change, natural disasters and other challenges have had profound impact on international development cooperation. Official Development Assistance continue to decrease. Developing countries still face many difficulties in meeting the MDGs on schedule.
Under such a situation, the international community should spare no efforts in implementing the MDGs. Between now and 2015, the priority of international development cooperation should focus on the implementation of the MDGs. It is crucial to ensure development resources, and increase support for African countries and Least Developed Countries in particular.
The international community should comprehensively assess the current state of international development cooperation, review the progress and challenges in implementing the MDGs and, on this basis, explore the Development Agenda beyond 2015. Such a process should be led by member states of the UN and conducted under the UN framework.
The Development Agenda beyond 2015 aims to set out a set of goals by consensus to guide international development cooperation and national development in a spirit of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation. The development agenda is designed to encourage countries to strengthen unity and cooperation, share rights and responsibilities, jointly meet challenges to eradicate poverty and hunger, acheive balanced and sustainable development and inclusive growth and advance the common interests of mankind. The development agenda should give top priority to the difficulties and challenges that developing countries, especially African and Least Developed Countries face, tackling the development imbalances between the North and the South, narrowing the development gap and pushing for a global development partnership of win-win cooperation to revive international development cooperation.
III. Guiding Principles
―Take eradicating poverty and promoting development as the centerpiece of the Development Agenda beyond 2015, and avoid an overloaded agenda that may deviate from the theme of development.
―Respect diversity in development models. Countries differ in stage and level of development and national conditions. It is thus important to respect the independence of all countries in determining their development strategies and goals and choosing their own development models and paths that fit their national conditions.
―Ensure continuity and keep forward-looking. The Development Agenda beyond 2015 should be based on the MDGs and those unaccomplished goals should be included in the development goals beyond 2015. Meanwhile, the agenda should keep pace with the times and meet new global challenges.
―Adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". This is the important consensus of the international community on development and the foundation for international development cooperation.
―Seek consensus through consultation. Relevant consultations should take place under the UN framework. It should be a member-led process in a just, democratic and transparent manner.
―Ensure universality. Goals should be simple, clear, practical and applicable to all countries on a voluntary basis. These goals should serve as a guide for future international development cooperation and reference for countries in formulating their development strategies. The goals should also be flexible, take into full account different national conditions, capabilities and development stages, and respect the development policies and priorities of each country.
―Promote coordinated and balanced development. It is important to advance economic, social and environmental development in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
IV. Key Areas and Priorities
(I) Eradicating poverty and hunger. Poverty and hunger not only greatly impede economic and social progress in developing countries, but also constitute a root cause for conflict, terrorism and environmental degradation. Poverty eradication is essential to the most fundamental right of people to subsistence and development, and is a primary task for all countries, developing countries in particular. Hence, it should be listed as the central goal in the Development Agenda beyond 2015. Governments should scale up investment in poverty eradication, strengthen capacity-building for the poor, vulnerable groups, women and children, and encourage the participation of private sector and civil society in this regard.
(II) Promoting social progress and improving people's livelihood. Countries should push for inclusive social progress, always put people first and ensure that development fruits are shared by all. The challenges of an aging population should be responded and the needs of senior citizens should be taken care of. Countries should guarantee people's right to education, promote equity and improve quality of education. A sound basic health care system should be established that make basic medical and health services more equitable and accessible, and raise the quality and efficiency of these services. Countries should provide equal opportunities to women, improve health of women and children, raise population quality and promote long-term and balanced demographic growth. A sound social security system should be put into place so as to protect vulnerable groups.
(III) Encouraging inclusive economic growth. Governments should make economic growth a priority task, and increase people's income and improve their living standards. Employment should be high on the economic and social development agenda, aiming for employment of better quality. The international community should strengthen the mutilateral trading system and jointly create a fair, just and open environment for trade, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, remove trade and investment barriers, and oppose and resist all forms of protectionism. Efforts should be made to accelerate the reform of global economic governance by increasing the representation and voice of developing countries, and establish a fair, just, inclusive and orderly international economic and financial system so that people of all countries can benefit equally from global economic development.
(IV) Enhancing ecological conservation and promoting sustainable development. Ecological conservation is crucial to human survival and the development of our next generation. Countries should respect and protect nature, raise public awareness about avoiding waste, environmental protection and ecological conservation, and encourage a sustainable pattern of consumption and production. The international community should vigorously address global climate change in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities. Countries should preserve biological diversity and uphold global ecological security, through efforts such as expanding forest coverage, harnessing forest resources rationally, controlling air pollution, treating hazardous waste safely, ensuring safe drinking water for both urban and rural residents, allocating and using water resources efficiently, promoting water recycling and reuse, and reinforcing the disaster relief facilities against flood and drought. Efforts should also be taken for protection of the marine environment and the rational use of marine resources.
(V) Enhancing the global development partnership. A new global development partnership should be established for common prosperity and development. North-South cooperation remains as the core of this partnership and South-South cooperation is a useful supplement to North-South cooperation. Development financing should be enhanced with North-South cooperation serving as the main channel. Developed countries should honor their Official Development Assistance commitments, provide development assistance, and scale up their support for developing countries, especially African and Least Developed Countries. Developing countries should further enhance South-South cooperation, help each other in the spirit of solidarity, and pursue common development.
V. Means of Implementation
There should be a sound implementation mechanism for the Development Agenda beyond 2015 to ensure development resources and attainment of the goals.
―Give full play to the UN in leading the organization and coordination of the development agenda. The UN should provide policy guidance to and coordinate among relevant international institutions, multilateral organization and treaty bodies for concerted steps to advance international development cooperation. While maintaining a country-led process, it is necessary to hear the constructive views of other stakeholders.
―Intensify development financing. To mobilize development resources calls for extensive pooling of political will at global, regional and national levels. Developed countries should meet their ODA commitments, developing countries need to mobilize domestic resources to increase investment in development.
―Establish and improve mechanisms for technology transfer. It is imperative to promote and support the R&D, dissemination and transfer of technologies that meet the actual needs of developing countries.
―Enhance human resources development and institutional capacity building through training, experience sharing, knowledge transfer and technical assistance.
―Strengthen South-South cooperation, encourage and support developing countries to help each other and share development experience within the South-South cooperation framework to supplement North-South cooperation and realize common development.
VI. China's Practices
China has made significant progress in implementing the MDGs and met several goals seven years ahead of schedule, including poverty reduction, combating hunger, universal primary education, and reducing under-five and infant mortality rate. China is the first developing country to achieve the poverty reduction goal ahead of schedule. It has helped to accelerate the global poverty reduction process and greatly contributed to global endeavor on poverty eradication. The nine-year compulsory education has been made available in all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities. Under-five and infant mortality rate has declined steadily, and urban-rural gap in women and children health indicators has gradually narrowed. Efforts on reducing maternal mortality rate, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention and control are moving on the right track. China remains committed to implementing the MDGs.
China attaches great importance to the development issue. Implementation of the MDGs has been incorporated into the national development strategy that aims to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In light of China's national conditions, the Chinese government has applied the Scientific Outlook on Development, which stresses putting people first and aiming at comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, and achieving balanced progress in the economic, social and ecological fields.
China continues to keep to the central task of economic development and continuously expand domestic demand, aiming at increasing individual income, especially income of farmers and low-income urban groups, and improving social security and consumption environment, thus to make consumer demand play a bigger role in driving economic growth. China is in a process of strategic restructuring of the economic structure, strengthening the fundamental role of agriculture, pursuing a new model of industrialization, and expediting the development of the service sector. China is promoting industrial upgrading through scientific and technological innovation, advanced industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization all at the same time, pursuing balanced and mutually reinforcing development between regions, and pushing for integrated urban-rural development.
China is steadily promoting equal access to basic public services, enhancing government's capacity in providing social security and seeking to establish a sound and sustainable basic public service system that meets China's national conditions and covers both urban and rural areas. China is implementing a job-first strategy and the policy of promoting self-reliant employment, market-regulated employment and government-backed employment and business start-ups in an effort to achieve full employment. China has put in place a social security system that covers urban and rural residents and improved the social insurance system, social aid system and basic medical and health care system. China will continue to improve the environment for women's development, and promote women's equal participation in economic and social development and equal share in development fruits.
China remains committed to the basic state policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment. China has taken measures to respond to climate change, put in place an accountability system for meeting energy-saving and emission-reduction targets, phase out energy-intensive and highly polluting production facilities, promote low-carbon, energy-saving and environment-friendly technologies and products, and pursue a circular economy. Laws, regulations and standards on energy-saving and emission reduction have been strengthened. Resource conservation and environmental protection have been integrated into each and every aspect of production, circulation, consumption and construction. Protection and management of water resources have been improved and water-saving society has become a common understanding. China has intensified environmental protection by improving the network for collecting and transporting urban household waste and sewage treatment facilities, and raising water and air quality. Efforts have also been made in protecting and rehabilitating the natural ecosystem, strengthening the ecosystems of forest, wetland and desert and biodiversity preservation, and improving the development and management of nature reserves.
Notwithstanding the achievements, China remains a developing country confronted with huge difficulties and challenges. Imbalance, lack of coordination and unsustainability in development remains a significant problem. The capacity for scientific and technological innovation is not strong enough, the industrial structure needs to be further adjusted, and agricultural foundation is still weak. There are growing environmental and resources constraints and systemic and institutional barriers that impede the pursuit of development in a scientific way. China is facing an arduous task to shift the growth model and adjust the economic structure. There is uneven urban-rural and regional development as well as income disparities. To tackle these challenges, China will continue to deepen reform and opening up, embrace the concept of green and low-carbon development and follow the path of sustainable development to reach the goal of building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
As the largest developing country, China has been committed to a win-win strategy of opening up and the spirit of unity and mutual help. China has increased mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, provided assistance to other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation and helped other developing countries in meeting the MDGs and achieving common development. China will continue to share development experience with other countries, follow the principles of inclusiveness and mutual learning, promote common development and work with other countries towards a more harmonious and prosperous world.