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Statement by H.E. Mr. Zhu Rongji Primier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China at the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(3 September 2002)


Johannesburg, South Africa

3 September 2002

Mr. President,

It is of great significance for national leaders around the world to come together on the occasion of the 10' anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to review the past and look into the future in a discussion of important issues of global sustainable development. On behalf of the Chinese Government and people, I wish to express my warm congratulations on the convocation of this summit and my sincere thanks to the Government and people of South Africa for the great efforts they have put into it. What is particularly meaningful is that this summit meets in Africa shortly after the inauguration of the African Union. I am confident that with the establishment of the African Union and the implementation of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the African continent will take on a new look with historic changes and fresh contributions to world peace and development.

Sustainable development is a crucial and pressing task facing all countries in the world. Ten years ago, national leaders around the world met in Rio de Janeiro of Brazil and laid down the principles, objectives and programs of action on sustainable development. Since then, the international community and national governments have made unremitting efforts in implementing the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. Important steps have been taken in promoting the harmonious development of the economy, population, resources and environment, and various forms of regional and bilateral cooperation on environment and development have been carried out in greater depth. Meanwhile, environmental degradation worldwide has gone on unreversed. While such long-standing problems as poverty, hunger, waste of resources and ecological destruction remain unresolved, abnormal climatic changes, fresh water shortage, spread of HIV/AIDS and other new threats have cropped up. As economic globalization presses on, the gap between the North and South, as well as the digital divide, keeps on widening. What merits our particular attention is that terrorist activities, regional conflicts, trans-border crimes, rampant drug trafficking and other threats to peace and security remain quite serious. The pressure and challenge facing the international community are evidently on the increase, rather than decrease. Fulfilling the objectives of sustainable development as set by Agenda 21 is still a long and arduous journey.

Mr. President,

We are already in the 21" century with complex and profound changes taking place every minute around the world. The new technology revolution spearheaded by IT and bioengineering is surging f