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Statement by Amassador Shen Guofang at the High-level Segment of the Ninth Session of CSD
(19 April 2001)


Mr. Chairman,

The issues of energy, transportation, atmosphere, international cooperation for an enabling environment and information for decision-making and participation, discussed at the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, are of great importance in the field of sustainable development. This session is the last substantial meeting of CSD before the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and its Prep-Com. The Chinese Delegation hopes that the discussions concerning those issues can lead to substantial outcomes and that this session can create a favorable atmosphere for the preparation work for the Summit. Now, I would like to elaborate China's positions on major issues.

Mr. Chairman,

Protection of the atmosphere and a relatively stable climate bear on the survival and well-being of mankind. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol represent the fundamental consensus and major achievements of mankind on some key issues among contracting parties. Therefore, we need to double our efforts to work out reasonable solutions based on the principles enshrined in the Convention in order to put it into effect as soon as possible.

However, unfortunately, on March 28, the American Government formally announced that the United States would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Such act is absolutely irresponsible, constitutes an open contempt for the common will and interest of the international community and severely frustrates all the efforts by the international community over the past decade and more in dealing with climate change. We are firmly opposed to it. We are ready to work with the international community to promote the entry into force of the Protocol.

Protection of the atmosphere is in the common interest of every country and it requires the sincere cooperation of all sides. Now, the widening gap in wealth, science and technology between the South and the North has seriously restricted the efforts of developing countries. To handle this situation, the international community should take concrete steps in technology transfer and financial assistance. We have noticed with concern that, despite some progress in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the decreased level of the Multilateral Fund as well as the barriers in technology transfer have affected the implementation of some programs of ODS phase out. We urge developed countries to honor their commitments under the Protocol, particularly to increase financial support and taking concrete steps in making technology transfer possible.

Preventing air pollution is part of the efforts to protect the atmosphere. When every country is intensifying domestic efforts in dealing with air pollution, it is necessary for the countries concerned to engage in dialogues, exchanges and scientific research on transboundary movement of pollutants. However, due to scientific uncertainties and huge differences between countries in development levels and capacity, it is still premature to set up a uniform monitoring system or mechanism or to reach a control agreement. The priorities now are to strengthen capacity building, to share technologies and to train personnel.

The Chinese Government has taken various measures to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of new and renewable energies. As a result, the growing rate of greenhouse gas emission in China has been effectively controlled. Forestation and reforestation efforts have also helped to prevent and control desertification and improve the atmospheric environment. Meanwhile, China achieved the goal of freezing the production and consumption of CFCs in 1999. In addition, China has, by formulating and enacting various laws and regulations, strengthened control on the emission of pollutants. All these measures have contributed to our efforts in protecting the atmosphere and dealing with climate change.

Mr. Chairman,

As a result of globalization, external factors have become critical in determining the success or failure of developing countries in their national sustainable development efforts. It is regrettable, however, that the benefits of globalization have not been equally shared and its negative effects have broadened the gap between the rich and the poor. It is therefore all the more important to create an enabling environment for sustainable development, and in that context, the following should emphasized:

Finance is essential for sustainable development. Official development assistance, which embodies developed countries' efforts fulfill their due obligations for the common interests of human beings, is irreplaceable, particularly in the area of sustainable development. It is therefore imperative that developed countries honor their commitment to reverse the decline of ODA and achieve as soon as possible the agreed target of 0.7% of their GNP for ODA as well as provide new and additional financial resources to developing countries. Efforts to enhance efficiency of the use of financial resources should go hand in hand with those to increase funding.

Foreign financial flows should serve to enhance sustainable development. However, foreign direct investments are limited in terms of the number of areas and countries they cover. The profit-driven private financial flows tend to neglect the environmental and social impacts. More direct damages will be caused when financial crises stride. In order to make foreign financial flows compatible with sustainable development, the international financial architecture must be reformed so that the capacity to prevent and mitigate financial crises, particularly in developing countries, will be strengthened. In addition, countries that provide the financial resources and those receiving them should work hard together to guide and effectively regulate the financial flows. For the heavily indebted developing countries, debt relief constitutes a prerequisite for an enabling environment.

The private sector, represented by transnational corporations, which have become a major economic player, should undertake appropriate responsibilities for sustainable development. It should be encouraged to participate in sustainable development efforts. The private sector should be guided so as to enable its business operations to contribute to sustainable development. The partnership with the private sector should take forms as fit the circumstances and traditions of specific countries.

Trade is playing a bigger and bigger role in development. Expanded market access for exports from developing countries serves as an important channel for developing countries to build up their capacity for economic growth and environmental protection. The international community should strive to establish a just, open and non-discriminatory multilateral trade system and improve trade conditions for developing countries and to increase market access for them, with a view to facilitating their efforts toward sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

Although trade should serve to contribute to sustainable development, linking environmental standards with trade measures and using environmental concerns as trade barriers will counteract the comparative advantages of developing countries. And that will, in contravention of the principle of sustainable development, compromise their efforts to protect the environment and improve the welfare of workers. Such practice, therefore, should be abandoned.

Technology, in particular the environmentally sound technology, constitutes a prominent condition for achieving leap-frog development. Technology transfer should by no means be left only to the market. It requires government support. Development countries have the capacity, condition as well as responsibilities to take concrete actions to transfer their environmentally sound technology, on favorable terms, to developing countries in accordance with relevant international environmental treaties and the needs of developing countries.

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