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Statement by Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong At the General Debate of the Ministerial Meeting of High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

2016/07/21

New York, 19 July 2016

Mr President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to attend the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and exchange views with you on how to promote global development and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Development is crucial to national economy and people’s livelihood and is therefore the common responsibility of all countries. The issues we are facing today – from old problems such as economic growth, poverty alleviation, people’s livelihood, health care and education to new challenges such as climate change, terrorism and refugee crisis – can all be traced back to the “root cause” of inadequate development and can only be tackled fundamentally through development. Last September, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, outlining a blueprint for development of every country and global development cooperation in the upcoming 15 years. Full implementation of the 2030 Agenda is the solemn commitment of the world leaders as well as the strong aspiration of the general public. The international community should spare no efforts and seize every opportunity to translate objectives into outcomes and guidelines into action, in order to usher in a new chapter for global development, inject new momentum into world economic growth and bring global development to a higher level. China believes that joint efforts must be made in the following areas:

First, foster the sense of a community of shared future and create a sound international environment for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Without peace and stability, there will be little chance for development or prosperity, nor will there be any chance to implement the 2030 Agenda. Although the overall situation worldwide is peaceful, local conflicts and turbulences break out one after another. Countries should follow the will of their people, seek peaceful coexistence, follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, forge a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and create a peaceful, stable and harmonious environment at regional and international levels. The international community should also strengthen macro policy coordination at the global level, jointly promote an open and inclusive world economy, improve global economic governance and effectively strengthen the representation and voice of developing countries in international economic governance. Further input must be injected into improving the external environment facing the development of all countries, developing countries in particular. Root causes threatening peace and stability shall be removed through development so that peace and development – the trend of our times – can take center stage.

Second, uphold the principle of people-centered approach and facilitate the participation of all individuals in sustainable development. “The primary task of governance is to enrich the people”. To realize, safeguard and promote the fundamental interests of the people is both the starting point and the ultimate goal of the 2030 Agenda. All countries need to uphold the principle of people-centered approach, and strengthen the mechanism for wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, so as to enable each and every individual to participate in the implementation of the Agenda and enhance each individual’s sense of gain as a result of such participation. If that can be done, the Agenda would represent tangible benefits for the people rather than a political declaration that stays on the paper. Inclusive economic growth and inclusive society are the way to go, with particular focus on the needs and concerns of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, women and persons with disabilities. By so doing, the fruits of development will benefit more people in a more equitable manner and will ultimately ensure that no one is left behind.

Third, adopt a holistic approach in planning and implementation to push for coordinated progress in economic, social and environmental arenas. The development agenda covers three major areas of economy, society and the environment and includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. Based on their own national circumstances and stages of development, countries must identify their priorities in those three areas, and make coordinated efforts so as to form synergy. Poverty eradication should be at the top of the agenda, which will lay a solid foundation for sustainable development. Great efforts must be made to optimize economic structure and promote innovation-driven development with the aim to achieve sustained, sound and steady economic growth. Public service systems for employment, education, social security and health care must be improved to ensure a life of dignity for all. We should promote a culture of ecological conservation that is based on respect for nature, adaption to nature and protection of nature to strive for harmonious coexistence between men, men and society and men and nature so that sustainable development will be placed in a virtuous cycle.

Fourth, deepen global development partnerships to help countries implement the Agenda. National governments shoulder the primary responsibility for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and should regard implementation as a priority in national policies. While taking their own responsibility and strengthening the internal drivers for growth, governments should also encourage the private sector, civil society and charitable organizations to participate in the cause of sustainable development that is guided by the government, embraced by the whole society and built by all people. The international community should fully respect countries’ rights to independently choose their own social systems and development paths, face up to the reality of unbalanced North-South development and lack of drive in international development cooperation, and adopt pragmatic measures to narrow the gap between the North and the South and between the rich and the poor, in a joint effort to realize common development and prosperity. Developed countries should earnestly honor their ODA commitments to help developing countries enhance development capabilities and levels. Developing countries should actively carry out South-South cooperation to draw strength from unity.

Fifth, support the UN in playing a central role and improve the structure of global development cooperation. At this crucial juncture with increasing challenges in global development and the launch of the Agenda, the position and role of the UN should only be strengthened, not weakened. The United Nations should play an effective role to better coordinate its work in the three major areas of development, security and human rights, and mobilize international organizations in specialized fields such as economy, finance, trade and investment in an effort to unite the entire international community in advancing the sustainable development agenda. The HLPF, on its part, should play an effective role in monitoring and evaluation, respond to calls from developing countries in particular and strengthen the monitoring of the implementation at the international level. With the UN remaining as the main conduit, stakeholders including global development agencies, multilateral financial organizations and multinational companies should be encouraged to play a bigger role and make greater contributions to the implementation of the sustainable development agenda.

Mr President,

China is the largest developing country in the world. The government and people of China have made the historic choice of comprehensively advancing sustainable development. Since the UN Sustainable Development Summit held last year, we have pushed for the comprehensive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and made good progress in terms of guiding principles, top-level design, strategic planning, institutional guarantee and early results. All this has laid a solid foundation for our implementation efforts for the next 15 years. In addition to this, we are following up on the practical measures initiated by President Xi Jinping at the Summit to further deepen South-South cooperation and to provide support and assistance within our capacity to fellow developing countries in support of their implementation of the Agenda. In the HLPF Voluntary National Review, China will make a comprehensive presentation on what we have done so far. We are here to share experiences and exchange views with all of you and we are open to your valuable opinions and suggestions.

Mr President,

Without the development of the vast number of developing countries, the growth of the world economy will not have a firm footing. As the president of the G20 for 2016, China has worked proactively within the G20 to give prominence to the issue of development for the first time in the global macro policy framework, and has invited unprecedented number of developing countries to participate in the year-round G20 activities so as to fully heed the voices of the developing countries, respond to their concerns, and add new impetus to international development cooperation.

First, by formulating a G20 Action Plan on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we aimed to strengthen policy coordination and cooperation among working mechanisms within the G20 and incorporate the development perspective into G20 discussions on innovation, trade, energy, anti-corruption and other topics, so that the comparative advantage and added value of the G20 will be fully tapped to help advance the work of the UN as a main conduit.

Second, with African countries and the LDCs in mind, we galvanized the G20 in formulating the a G20 Initiative in Support of Industrialization of Africa and Other Least Developed Countries, in order to provide political support and policy recommendations for the industrialization of these countries and to facilitate their implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Third, we hosted discussions within the G20 on employment, agriculture, inclusive business and other topics, helped to bring about the G20 Entrepreneurship Action Plan and established a G20 global inclusive business platform, all in an effort to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive development of the world economy.

Fourth, we maintained openness, inclusiveness and transparency in hosting the various G20 events, and have engaged the UN, the G77, and the African Union in a series of outreach dialogues. At the same time, we turned to platforms such as the UNESCAP, Boao Forum for Asia, the World Economic Forum, and APEC to seek opinions and suggestions from all sides, so as to make G20 discussions more representative.

China is confident that, with the concerted efforts of all G20 members, the G20 Hangzhou Summit will make positive contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and international development cooperation, and leave an indelible mark in the annals of world development.

Mr President,

All countries live in one global village; we are of one family. China will implement the 2030 Agenda with a sense of mission and stands ready to start a journey hand in hand with other countries to usher in a bright future where development is shared by all and everyone is free from want, and jointly make 2030 more prosperous for our future generations.

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