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Statement by H.E. Ambassador LIU Zhenmin, Acting Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the General Debate for the High-level Segment of the Substantive Session for 2008 of ECOSOC
New York, 2 July 2008



Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation welcomes the relevant report of the Secretary-General. My delegation supports the statement made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

In his report, the Secretary-General rightly indicated that, as the notion of sustainable development gains popularity, headways have been made by individual countries in drafting and implementing national sustainable development strategies. There is also progress in economic development, poverty alleviation, extension of malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, implementation of disaster early warning systems, and promotion of sustainable consumption and production patterns. Awareness of companies and civil society to engage in environmental protection has markedly increased.

Nevertheless, it should not be neglected that sustainable development faces severe challenges globally. The development among and within countries is very uneven and sustainable development in sub-Sahara Africa still presents no reason for optimism. Particularly since last year, the continuous rise of food and oil prices, increased risk of financial fluctuation, extreme weather conditions and natural disasters have all posed serious challenges to the world, especially to developing countries.

Mr. President,

The Agenda 21 and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development has set out the road map and specific targets for global sustainable development. Countries need to work in concert to implement these goals and commitments and meet the challenges together.

1. To achieve sustainable development, priority should be given to settlement of the most pressing issues. In recent years, the soaring prices of food and resources have increased risk of economic operations and impaired social stability. The priority now is therefore to concentrate on addressing these pressing issues and maintain economic stability and growth of individual countries. The international community should give special attention to the impoverished developing countries beset by the food and oil crises. At the same time, countries should shift their mode of growth in a long-term perspective to ensure sustainability.

2. A comprehensive strategy should be adopted to protect the environment. Globally, an integrated approach is needed to address climate change, protect biodiversity, combat desertification and achieve sustainable use of water, forest and other natural resources. International coordination and cooperation should be intensified to reverse the trend of environmental degradation. On the national front, countries need to formulate and implement sustainable development strategies in light of their specific conditions to reduce damage to the environment caused by economic growth. It should be pointed out that, due to the dual pressure of economic growth and environmental protection, developing countries are under great financial and technological strain in achieving sustainable development. The international community, especially developed countries, should make good on their commitments of providing new and additional financial resources and transferring environment-friendly technologies in preferential terms to developing countries to improve their capacity for sustainable development.

3. Addressing climate change requires greater international cooperation. Countries must adhere to sustainable development. On this basis, the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol should remain the core mechanism and the main avenue for addressing climate change and the "principle of common but differentiated responsibilities" must be followed strictly. Developed countries should truly fulfill their commitments made in the Kyoto Protocol. They should take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a large margin and increase financial assistance and technology transfer to developing countries. By honoring their commitments, developed countries will help developing countries more effectively participate in the process of tackling climate change

Mr. President,

The ECOSOC should play an active role in coordinating sustainable development efforts. Achieving sustainable development is a big issue, involving both global circumstances and local conditions. As many developing countries are still straitjacketed by poverty and backwardness, how to help them break the vicious cycle should top our agenda. We hope this meeting will give a helping hand to developing countries by identifying the problems and deficiencies, effectively coordinate the efforts of various institutions, mobilize resources and form synergy in implementing assistance measures.

Mr. President,

Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, the Chinese government has always attached great importance to sustainable development and made environmental protection one of its basic policies. In 2003, the Chinese government established a people-oriented strategy of all-round, coordinated and sustainable development, set forth the 11th five-year plan for economic and social development and identified a series of specific targets and measures for sustainable development.

China is now at a critical stage of industrialization and urbanization. Due to the constraints of development and technological levels, a relatively high environmental price has to be paid for its economic growth. With a high sense of responsibility to the Chinese people, the humanity as a whole, and the future generations, the Chinese government is making vigorous efforts to implement its sustainable development strategy. China has voluntarily adopted a series of specific policies and measures to strengthen legislation and law enforcement, adopt various means, and intensify monitoring and implementation and has achieved some results.

China takes an active part in the international community's endeavor to negotiate and formulate the development goals and readily shares the responsibility of implementing these goals. The Chinese government's efforts to implement its sustainable development strategy and specific targets for development will not only change the course of its own development, but also contribute to global sustainable development. We have every confidence and resolve to turn our long-term goals of sustainable development into reality.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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