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Remarks by Assistant Foreign Minister Qian Hongshan At the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

2016/05/19

Bangkok, Thailand, 18 May 2016

Mr. Chair,
Madam Executive Secretary,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the 72nd Session of ESCAP and express our appreciation to the Thai government and ESCAP Secretariat for their thoughtful arrangements.

Last September, the UN Sustainable Development Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which charted the course for national development of countries and international cooperation in the next 15 years, and became a milestone in global development.

This year marks the start of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. As the beginning is never easy, all countries should act in concert to make steady and solid progress in the first step. To this end, from the beginning of this year, parties have engaged in deep-going discussions at the UN and other platforms and have formed basic consensus. It is a shared view that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda must follow the right direction to align domestic development strategies with international development agenda. It should be on a voluntary basis and support all countries in finding the development paths that best suit them. It is important to improve development partnership and create an enabling international environment for growth. All stakeholders should be involved to forge synergy.

Dear Colleagues,

With a big population and immense diversity, the Asia-Pacific both faces daunting challenges in development while remains the most dynamic and promising region in the world. Over the past 15 years, countries in this region have contributed greatly to the global efforts in realizing the MDGs. Now we need to redouble our efforts to build on our past achievements, realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and continue to lead global development and make greater achievements.

First, we should support the active role of ESCAP in providing real support to its member states for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. As the Agenda is to be implemented at the global, regional and national levels, regional implementation becomes an important link. As a regional organ of the UN and the most important mechanism for all-round development and cooperation in this region, ESCAP must shoulder its responsibility. Under the leadership of Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar, ESCAP has intensified its reform and transformation and made good preparations for the 2030 Agenda. All parties need to support ESCAP in expanding cooperation on policy coordination and project implementation and in helping developing countries enhance capacity-building.

Second, we should continue to promote connectivity and regional economic integration to bolster sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a comprehensive and systematic project and can only be achieved through win-win cooperation and common development. Greater connectivity and deeper regional economic integration would serve the interconnected development of Asia-Pacific countries and is in line with the trend of the times. It is important to harness the traditional strengths of ESCAP and encourage countries to synergize their development strategies, tap the potential in transport, trade and investment, and shape an open economy in the Asia-Pacific featuring innovative development, interconnected growth and integrated interests.

Third, we should pursue innovative development to produce new driving forces for Asia-Pacific development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has a whole new set of targets. It requires all countries to view development from a new perspective, embrace new development concepts, models and paths, and face up to and tackle their problems. Therefore, the theme of this session, "Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development", is highly relevant. While strengthening its role as a think tank, ESCAP is working on new areas of cooperation such as paperless trade and energy connectivity. We should be more creative, find new ways of cooperation and produce more positive results.

Dear Colleagues,

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has started to implement it across the board. We are following the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, and have made development our top priority, and aligned Agenda implementation with our 13th Five-Year Plan and the goal to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We are working hard to improve the quality and efficiency of development, promote progress at the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fronts, and strive to attain all the reform and development targets in parallel. We have put in place a national coordinating mechanism that brings together 43 government departments, and we are working on the country-specific program. In the coming five years, we will lift all the 55.75 million poor people in rural areas out of poverty, which will be an important early harvest of the 2030 Agenda.

While promoting our own development, we will work together with other parties to intensify global efforts. China will host the G20 Summit in Hangzhou this coming September under the theme of "Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy". The focus will be finding a new path for the world economy and inject fresh impetus to international development cooperation. "Inclusive and interconnected development" will be one of the four main topics, under which the implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be discussed. This is the first time that development occupies a priority place in global macro economic policy coordination. We are now working on the draft of a G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I believe this will lend strong political thrust to the implementation. Next year, China will host the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Midpoint Review of the Asia and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons to ensure that the program will deliver and help this community better benefit from the 2030 Agenda.

As a responsible major developing country, we will earnestly follow through on the measures announced by President Xi Jinping at the Summits marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, deepen South-South cooperation, assist other developing countries to the best of our ability and contribute to the global development endeavor.

Dear Colleagues,

After decades of development, China is deeply integrated with the rest of the world. China is an active participant, a beneficiary as well as a constructive contributor in the international development system. We have put forward the Belt and Road Initiative, namely, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and help developing countries along the routes to improve infrastructure, integrate into the connectivity network, elevate the industrialization level and foster stronger driver for growth. This is the most important public goods that China provides to the region and beyond, and demonstrates China's commitment to its international responsibilities. It represents a new development path that is in keeping with the trend of the times and will surely give a strong boost to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Many of the ESCAP member states are along the routes of the Belt and Road and are our natural partners for cooperation. The Belt and Road Initiative, as it unfolds, will generate huge development dividends for the Asia-Pacific and open up broad prospects for ESCAP cooperation. Last year's session adopted China-proposed resolution on Strengthening Intraregional and Interregional Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific, manifesting the shared support of member states for such major initiatives as the Belt and Road. Thanks to the concerted efforts, the resolution has been followed upon steadily, and we look forward to next year's progress report. We will strengthen cooperation with other ESCAP members on the Belt and Road Initiative and work for new breakthroughs in transport, trade facilitation, energy, information technology and other areas, forge a full-fledged connectivity network and regional economic cooperation framework and add new impetus and space for the development of the Asia-Pacific.

Dear Colleagues,

China highly values the role of ESCAP. The China-ESCAP Cooperation Program set up thirty years ago has so far supported more than 200 projects in wide-ranging areas, including agriculture, disaster relief, women, poverty reduction and cross-border transport, which has truly supported the economic and social development of developing members of ESCAP and gathered invaluable experience for South-South cooperation. Hereby, I announce that the Chinese government will substantially increase the funding of the Program to one million US dollars and 1.5 million RMB yuan this year. In the coming five years, China will contribute 1.6 million US dollars each year to the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in support of its operation and development. We believe that these measures will help address the funding challenges that ESCAP faces and make sure that cooperation in priority areas will move forward as planned.

Going forward, we will make good use of ESCAP as an important platform to expand cooperation with other member states, draw on our comparative advantages, share opportunities and make new contribution to the common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.

Thank you.

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