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Statement by Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong At Voluntary National Review of the Implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

2016/07/21

New York, 20 July 2016

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am glad to present, on behalf of the Chinese government, its Voluntary National Review of the Implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I have two main purposes in my statement today: to give you an account of the progress and future plans in China's implementation of the Agenda; and to exchange views with you on the implementation and hear your valuable suggestions.

China is the largest developing country in the world, with development as its top priority and sustainable development as a basic national policy. Since the launch of intergovernmental negotiations on Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations in 2013, China has participated fully in the negotiations, and has put forward proposals in light of its experience of reform, opening-up and implementation of the MDGs. China has coordinated positions with various parties, making significant and highly-appreciated contribution to the successful formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the international community.

In September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, and joined other world leaders in adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda dovetails with China's efforts to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society, and to realize the "Chinese dream" of national rejuvenation. It resonates with China's vision of advancing sustainable development and ensuring that all people share the benefits of development. It is also consistent with China's pursuit to play the role of a responsible big country and to promote common development of all countries. The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is China's commitment and its due international responsibility. It is also an effective way to advance China's reform, opening-up and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

I would like to take the opportunity of Voluntary National Review to brief you and the international community on the actions taken by the Chinese government to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the progress it has achieved.

First, attaching great importance to top-level plans. In October 2015, the Fifth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee issued a communique, stressing "proactive participation in Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development". In March 2016, the Chinese government released the Outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan with a commitment to the "active implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development". The Communique and the Outline, as two guideline documents, have unequivocally emphasized "proactive participation" and "active implementation", setting the tone and charting the course for China's implementation of the Agenda. China has proposed the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, which is consistent with the overall mandate of the Agenda for integrated economic, social and environmental progress, while accommodating the bigger interests of people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships. Both are intended for unswervingly advance sustainable development.

Second, forming better synergy among strategies. In line with its national conditions, China has been working to synergize efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with domestic reform and development agenda, and with the implementation of its medium and long-term national development strategies including the 13th Five-Year Plan. China has turned SDGs into specific tasks in economic, social and environmental fields. In the economic field, for example, the Chinese government has formulated the National Outline for Innovation-Driven Development Strategy and the National Sustainable Agricultural Development Plan (2015-2030). In the social field, it has published the Decision on Winning the Tough Battle in Poverty Reduction and the Healthy China Outline. In the environmental field, it has prepared the China Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Plan of Action (2015-2030) and the National Program on Climate Change (2014- 2020). In the next five years, China will conduct annual assessment on the progress of the 13th Five-Year Plan and its program of work in all sectors, synchronizing with the assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda .

Third, improving institutional support. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a systematic project that involves the resources and efforts of all sectors of the society. China has established a coordination mechanism composed of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and dozens of other government departments, which is responsible for formulating the implementation plan, reviewing the progress, and strengthening policy coordination and information sharing. We have also delegated 17 SDGs and 169 targets to specific departments, and urge them to set up internal working mechanisms and to work out detailed implementation plan. Following the model of central planning with local implementation, we have specified the primary responsibilities of governments at all levels and incentivize them to the maximal extent, so that powerful synergy could be formed in the society to jointly advance sustainable development.

Fourth, securing "early harvests". The next five years will be crucial in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Chinese government has, in line with its national conditions, identified a set of development goals to be achieved in next five years. By 2020, China will lift more than 55 million domestic rural poor out of poverty, double the GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents on the 2010 basis, create over 50 million new urban jobs, renovate 20 million housing units for urban run-down areas, reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 15%, and reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 18%. These objectives are closely related to Sustainable Development Goals. The Chinese government's efforts to secure "early harvests" are not about image engineering, but a real drive to benefit the people. Instead of short-term success, it is aimed at exploring ways and accumulating experience to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable development on the basis of "early harvests".

Fifth, deepening international exchanges. Following an open and inclusive approach, China has actively strengthened exchanges and mutual learning with all parties in a joint effort to take forward the global implementation process. In April this year, China released its Position Paper on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, expounding China's position, proposal and initiatives on the implementation of the Agenda. In May, China and the United Nations System in China co-organized an international seminar on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Tibet, during which suggestions such as synergizing strategies, early harvests and innovation-driven approaches were made with a view to advancing implementation. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a video message to the seminar and his special adviser David Nabarro traveled to Tibet to attend the seminar. In July, China and the UN System in China again co-organized a sub-forum on sustainable development on the margins of the annual conference of Eco Forum Global in Guiyang to discuss complementarity between ecological progress and sustainable development agenda, contributing Chinese wisdom to international cooperation on development. China will promulgate its Country Program on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within this year to share its experience with other countries.

Sixth, promoting South-South cooperation. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda will not be successful without efficient, pragmatic and mutually beneficial global development partnerships built on an equal footing. In September last year, while attending the summits commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, President Xi Jinping announced a series of major initiatives that has generated enormous global interest and was greeted by overwhelming enthusiasm. The implementation of these measures is on full steam ahead. The China-UN Peace and Development Fund has been established, and will launch its projects by the end of this year. The Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, inaugurated last April, has commenced enrollment and will provide other developing countries with doctoral- and master's-degree programs as well as short-term training opportunities. Efforts are underway to implement the "Six 100" projects, which are designed to support developing countries in the fields of poverty reduction, agriculture, Aid for Trade, biological conservation, health, environment and education. The Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation, tasked with assisting developing countries in their efforts to implement the Agenda, is also expected to start operation soon.

It is worth highlighting that as the current President of the G20, China has placed development at the core of G20's agenda, a ground-breaking move in the Group's history. Working under the theme of "towards an inclusive and interconnected world economy", the G20 will take up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda as one of its priorities this year. Driven by China's initiative, this year's G20 process will for the first time incorporate development into the global macro policy framework, formulate an action plan on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , and take up the new topic of supporting the industrialization of African countries and the LDCs. At China's invitation, an unprecedented number of developing countries will participate in G20's activities throughout the year, so that the voice of developing countries will be fully heard and their aspirations fully expressed.

At present, the preparation for the summit is in its final stage. Proposed and prepared by China, the draft G20 Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been finalized and received broad support among G20 members, demonstrating the will of the Group to serve as a role model in this regard. We hope that the collective and individual actions taken by the world's major economies will give a strong boost to the implementation of the Agenda and constitute an important driving force.

Distinguished delegates,

Going forward, guided by the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, China will advance economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress in a balanced manner and speed up implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To promote innovative development, China will adopt an innovation-driven development strategy and focus on better quality and efficiency of development. To promote coordinated development, China will strive for greater coordination across all regions and between urban and rural areas, and pay equal attention to material and cultural development, so as to realize a balanced development structure. To promote green development, China will facilitate the transition to an eco-friendly and low-carbon model of production and consumption, actively tackle climate change and improve ecological environment. To promote open development, China will work to achieve better opening-up, and work with our partners to promote strategic mutual trust, economic and trade ties and people-to-people exchange, with the view to achieving win-win cooperation. To promote shared development, China will ensure equal opportunities, guarantee basic living necessities and promote the welfare of our people.

At the same time, China will continue to promote the "Belt and Road" Initiative (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road), deepen South-South cooperation, and provide assistance within our capacity to other developing countries in their implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda. China supports the central role of the United Nations in the implementation of the Agenda, and stands ready to work with other countries and relevant international organizations to enhance global governance, deepen international development cooperation, and contribute even more to the global cause of development. Let us work together to build a community of shared future for the mankind featuring win-win cooperation and common development.

Thank you.

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