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Remarks by H.E. Zhang Yesui Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Executive Vice Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China At the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States

2014/09/02

 Apia, September 2014

Ms. President of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to come to the beautiful country of Samoa and join you at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, congratulations on the opening of the conference and our thanks to the Samoan government for the thoughtful arrangements.

This year is the United Nations' International Year of Small Island Developing States. Due to historical and geographical conditions as well as resource constraints, small island developing states (SIDS) are generally less developed, ecologically fragile and confronted with multiple challenges from climate change, natural disasters and livelihood issues. To promote sustainable development of SIDS concerns not only the well-being of these countries, but also that of mankind and the future of our planet. We support the building of strong partnerships that aim to promote sustainable development of SIDS, heed and address the development concerns of SIDS and protect SIDS interests as much as possible. In this regard, the international community need to make efforts in the following four aspects.

First, we should jointly tackle the climate challenge. The international community should adhere to the "common but differentiated responsibilities" and other principles enshrined in the UNFCCC, and arrive at a new agreement as scheduled. Developed countries should honor their long-term finance commitment of mobilizing 100 billion US dollars per year by 2020, move quickly to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, and actively transfer green technologies to developing countries. SIDS have special difficulties in capital, technology and capacity-building, and the international community should scale up assistance to them.

Second, we should formulate the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals as scheduled. The international development agenda should set comprehensive and ambitious targets with poverty elimination at its core and give balanced consideration to the three pillars of economy, society and development. Topics such as oceans, food, water and disaster reduction should be incorporated into the international development agenda so as to help SIDS protect their marine eco-environment.

Third, we should earnestly deliver the commitments of international development cooperation. Developing countries need the assistance and input from the international community to achieve development. Developed countries should honor their pledge of channeling 0.7% of their Gross National Income to official development assistance in full and on time, and speed up technology transfer. South-South cooperation should be vigorously promoted, and new ways for fund-raising should be explored. Parties should fulfill their commitment of debt relief so as to help SIDS reduce foreign debts and enhance self-development capacity.

Fourth, we should establish a more reasonable international governance system. The international community should jointly advance the democratization of international relations and increase the representation and voice of developing countries in international governance system, thus creating an enabling external environment for their development. The relevant countries need to strengthen their political will increase input, support mechanisms such as the UN Office of High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States in playing a bigger role, and enhance the enforcement and oversight of their initiatives.

Ms. President,

Being a developing country with 1.3 billion people, China faces daunting challenges in its development and reform. Although its economy is the second largest in the world today, China's per capita GDP only ranks at the 89th place. According to UN standard, there are still about 100 million Chinese living under the poverty line. Unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remains an acute problem. Development is still China's number one priority.

The Chinese government is taking steps to accelerate the shift of its growth model and restructure its economy. It is vigorously exploring a green and low-carbon development model that both advances economic and social development and at the same time reduces the emissions of green house gases. The Chinese government has set out its own action targets to combat climate change, namely, to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% from the 2005 level by 2020 and to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15% by 2020. It will not be easy to meet these targets,but the Chinese government and people will not waver in their choice of sustainable development. Such a choice is dictated by the need for China to further develop itself and also a shared responsibility of all of us to address global challenges.

In the climate change negotiations going forward, China is ready to work with the international community to push for the conclusion of negotiations in 2015 as scheduled for a new international climate change arrangement post 2020, and to deliver comprehensive and balanced outcomes in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities.

Ms. President,

An old Chinese saying reads, "People with affinity make light of distance even when they are thousands of miles apart." China understands very well the development difficulties confronting SIDS. In recent years, China has been deepening result-oriented cooperation with SIDS. By taking concrete steps, China is living up to a sincere, enduring and reliable partner of SIDS.

In 2014 alone, China is engaged in 235 assistance projects for 23 SIDS countries with a total value of 1.5 billion RMB yuan, outdoing many developed countries. In November 2013, the Chinese government pledged one billion US dollars of concessional loans for Pacific island countries and the China Development Bank announced a one-billion-dollar special loan, to support infrastructure development, water supply facilities, small hydropower stations, ecological farms and bio-gas technologies in SIDS and help remove the bottlenecks in their sustainable development.

Ms. President,

There is a film in China called Not One Less, which tells the touching story about an ordinary village teacher who did everything she could to bring each and every local child to her classroom. Similarly, in the course of global sustainable development, no SIDS country is dispensable or should ever be left behind. Only with the full participation of SIDS, can the global sustainable development process be complete and ultimately achieve success. Let us join hands and make unremitting efforts for the sustainable development and prosperity of SIDS.

Thank you.

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