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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations and Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the Eleventh Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

2003/04/29


Mr. Chairman:

As the first substantive meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), this session of the CSD has special significance for undertaking the implementation of the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit and sustaining the momentum of international cooperation for sustainable development.

Sustainable development is a prerequisite for human existence and prosperity. During the Johannesburg Summit, world leaders have rededicated themselves to the realization of the objectives set forth by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) at Rio. The Summit not only formulated more concrete and clearer goals and targets and programmes but also made firmer commitments. The commitment to multilateralism in particular has turned out to be a strong impetus to greater international cooperation. All countries need to grasp this opportunity to fulfill their respective obligations based on the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" to achieve the concrete objectives.

Sustainable development is a broad field with cross-cutting issues and requires comprehensive concrete actions from global, regional, national actors and even individuals, all of whom are indispensable links in this undertaking. As the only body mandated to undertake a comprehensive consideration of economic, social and environmental issues, the CSD is the chain that links up all these actions and the booster that propels the implementation of the various consensuses and commitments. In its first decade, the CSD played a role under the guidance of the UNCED spirit but fell short of the requirements of global sustainable development. To effectively implement Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), the CSD must strive to be innovative, proactive, pragmatic and action-oriented.

Mr. Chairman,

The agenda and organization of the work of the CSD will have substantive impact on the efficiency and final outcome of its work. The recommendations in the Secretary-General's report on the future programme and organization of work of the CSD have provided a good basis for discussion. We believe that the CSD should continue to base on GA Resolution 47/191 for its functions and operations and make the implementation of Agenda 21 and JPOI as a centerpiece of its work. For this reason, it should avoid re-negotiation and focus more on practical measures of cooperation. To some specific questions, we have the following views:

1. The programme of work of the CSD needs both predictability and flexibility.

In its day-to-day work, the Commission should avoid duplication with the functions of other bodies of the United Nations and ensure coordination with the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Integrated and Coordinated Implementation of and Follow-up to the Outcomes of the Major United Nations Conferences.

2. Future work of the CSD should be streamlined, efficient and action-oriented.

We agree with the proposed two-year work cycle. The selection of themes should be comprehensive and balanced, and with some focus. Sectoral and cross-sectoral issues should be linked to consider. In order to lay the groundwork for goal attainment, poverty eradication and means of implementation, including financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building, should be addressed.

3. We support the idea of the CSD actively engaging ministers dealing with the

various dimensions and sectors of sustainable development, in the belief that the exchange of national experiences should be encouraged as a good way of mutual learning and ensuring further improvement.

4. We support more regional engagement in the discussions of the CSD. Such

participation should make full use of the comparative advantage of existing mechanisms, including the regional commissions of the United Nations.

5. Agencies, funds and programmes and other relevant bodies of the United

Nations should more actively engage with the CSD and enhance coordination, with a view to full implementation of the WSSD outcome.

6. We look forward to more contribution by the major groups to the implemen-

tation of Agenda 21 and JPOI. The CSD has already in place a set of effective rules and modalities for participation by the major groups. These rules and modalities should continue and be applied to their future participation.

7. Partnership initiatives originating from the Johannesburg Summit are the

complement of JPOI. We believe that the Governments play the leading role throughout the process of international cooperation for sustainable development. The partnership initiatives need to contribute to the implementation of the goals and targets of Agenda 21 and JPOI and help the developing countries resolve their real problems. In order to ensure the coherence, effectiveness and accountability of the initiatives, some guidelines setting is necessary.

Mr. Chairman,

Sustainable development has become an important part of China's development strategy. After WSSD, in a responsible manner and an action-oriented spirit, China has quickly incorporated the outcome of the Summit into its National Outline for Sustainable Development and put it into practice. The new Administration that took office not long ago stresses that it will never seek short-term economic development at the expense of environmental degradation and resource wastage, and it is determined to give a prominent place to the implementation of the strategy for sustainable development. The Chinese Government will invest heavily in problem solving at the source with attention to both palliative measures and the elimination of root causes. It is committed to environmental protection and the rational use of its resources and the achievement of harmonized development. We are open to broad and wide-ranging dialogues with other countries on all issues related to environmental protection and sustainable development and widening of channels of cooperation for global sustainable development.

We hope that this session of the CSD will break new ground by building on past achievements and, in parallel with the promotion of international cooperation for sustainable development, lay down a solid foundation for its future work. In conclusion, I wish the session success.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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