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Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Liu Zhenmin on Item 53 "Sustainable Development" of 61st UNGA Session


Mme. Chairperson,

First of all, the Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Secretary-General for the reports under agenda item 53: Sustainable Development. My delegation supports the statement made by the representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I now wish to present my views on item 53 (a), (b), (c), (d) and (g).

Mme. Chairperson,

On item 53 (a): Implementation of Agenda 21, the Program for the further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development

We agree on the point made by the Secretary-General in his report that sustainable development has truly become a global undertaking with the emergence of various action plans. Human society has accumulated experiences of sustainable development, and countries have adopted proactive measures in this regard. The developing countries in particular have made unprecedented endeavor. They have taken major steps in this area by integrating sustainable development in their national development strategies, accelerating reforms, mobilizing all social forces, and building extensive partnerships.

At the same time, we must remain sober to the fact that the situation of global sustainable development as a whole is still rather grim. There still exist worsening environment, ecological damage, land deterioration, long-standing poverty and infectious diseases. The uneven economic development among states is more prominent, and the gap of regional development within a country is widening. Economic vulnerability of the LDCs and countries of sub-Sahara Africa is increasing, environmental pressure is heavier, and the achievement of sustainable development remains a long-term and arduous task.

Comparing the international consensus with the actual implementation, there are still many areas that need improvement. But there are two areas that are most essential:

Firstly, national governments need to act in accordance with their own national development level and features, and formulate sustainable development strategies. At the same time, it is necessary to use economic, legal and administrative measures comprehensively to enhance implementation. Developing countries have a very low starting point. They are faced with enormous pressure and difficulties. For the benefit of future generations, they should continue to create conditions, adopt innovative measures, and mobilize national resources and forces to achieve sustained economic growth, so as to eradicate poverty, attain balanced development to raise the quality of economic growth, and realize harmony between mankind and nature.

Secondly, it is necessary to build global partnership and strengthen international cooperation. To achieve objectives of sustainable development in the world require an unprecedentedly wide scope of actions, whereas national development level, governance capacity, and financial and technical situation are vastly different. Under such circumstances, old conventional concepts can no longer meet today's needs. It is exactly because of this, in both Agenda 21 and Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, there are explicit provisions indicating that developing countries should receive financial assistance and transfer of environmentally-sound technologies on preferential terms, and that an enabling environment should be established to help them to get rid of their shackles and embark on the road of sustainable development. Whether the above-mentioned pledges can be fulfilled has a direct bearing on global process of sustainable development. Developed countries should earnestly fulfill their commitments.

China has acted firmly in fulfilling its commitments to sustainable development. Our government has decided to pursue a scientific outlook on development that makes economic and social development people-oriented, comprehensive, balanced and sustainable. In recent years, while maintaining fairly rapid economic growth, China has made unremitting efforts to adjust its industrial structure, improve energy efficiency, scale up investment in the development of circular economy and protect ecological environment with a view to accelerating building energy saving and environmentally-sound society. This will not only help improve China's development quality, but also contribute to global sustainable development. At the beginning of this year, the Chinese government formulated and started to implement the "11th five year plan", an important part of which is, by 2010, while doubling per capita GDP of 2000, the per unit GDP energy consumption will be 20% lower than the end of 2005, and the total main pollutant emission will be reduced by 10%. In August this year, China issued the Green National Accounting Study Report and, for the first time, quantifies resources and environment elements in national economic development. It requires arduous efforts to achieve above objectives. China will try its utmost and also wishes to receive vigorous support from the international community.

Mme. Chairperson,

On item 53 (b): follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the further implementation of the program of action for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

We are of the view that the development of SIDS form an important part of global sustainable development. The international community should, in accordance with the consensus, offer practical help so as to enable SIDS to embark on the road of sustainable development.

First, the international community should fulfill the financial commitment, accelerate technical transfer, especially those technologies for developing and using cost-effective and renewable energies.

Second, it is essential to enhance capacity building of SIDS, especially in terms of institutes and personnel training in such areas as improving energy efficiency, evaluating vulnerability, formulating strategies for adaptation to climate change, collecting and studying data of climate change.

Finally, fundamental concerns of SIDS need to be dealt with. We should adopt practical measures to help SIDS better respond to the disastrous consequences of climate change, sea level rise and extreme weather events.

Mme. Chairperson,

On item 53 (c): International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

We believe that in the age of globalization, international and regional cooperation is essential for warding off and responding to natural disaster. It is therefore necessary to act from the following four areas: First, we should earnestly put into action of Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, and reinforce international and regional cooperation on disaster reduction. Second, we should build regional cooperation mechanism for supervision, early warning and evaluation of major natural disasters, so as to reduce the negative effects to the lowest level. Third, we should enhance exchange and sharing of disaster reduction information and experience. Four, support should be increased to assist developing countries in capacity building.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to international and regional cooperation on disaster reduction. At present, China is working hard to set up the Asian Regional Research Center on Catastrophe. We have also taken an active part in discussing and signing bilateral and multilateral agreements with other countries and especially with neighboring countries and promoted regional and international cooperation on disaster reduction. China will soon hold the Seminar on Comprehensive Disaster Management for Developing Countries. We believe this will help improve developing countries' capacity in disaster reduction.

Mme. Chairperson,

On item 53 (d): Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind

In our opinion, climate change is a long-term challenge faced by mankind. It requires unswerving efforts of the international community. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol have set the basic principles and framework for climate change. At present, the international community faces two tasks in dealing with climate change. The first is to comprehensively implement the convention and the protocol. The second is to push for smooth conclusion of talks on post 2012 greenhouse emissions reduction target by developed countries. We call upon countries concerned to face squarely their historical emission responsibility and current high average per capita emission level, pledge to take further emission reduction/limitation measures after 2012, strengthen technical cooperation with and transfer of technology to developing countries, promote sustainable development and improve global capacity in responding to climate change.

As a developing country that has been adversely affected by climate change, China attaches great importance to climate change. We have formulated a number of policies, laws and regulations, including Energy Conservation Law and the Renewable Energy Law. We are now formulating the National Program on Respond to Climate Change. It will serve as a guideline for China in the coming decades. The Chinese government has also adopted a number of measures to reduce climate change, including adjusting industrial and energy structure, and promoting technological progress and development of new and renewable energy resources. China is ready to work with the rest of the international community to firmly abide by the basic principles of the Convention, continue to support the model of the Kyoto Protocol, and explore ways of responding to climate change that are suitable to different national conditions and can mobilize enthusiasms of all countries.

Mme. Chairperson,

On item 53 (g): Report of the Governing Council of the UNEP on its 9th special session

China supports the efforts to strengthen the UNEP, and improve its efficiency and authority. In our view, the relevant measures should help promote coordinated development of national economic, social and environmental protection, and especially meet the special needs of developing countries, so as to improve their comprehensive capacity to deal with environment related issues.

Thank you, Mme. Chairperson.

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