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Statement by Mr. Liu Hongyang, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, at the Second Committee of the 58th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda item 95 and item 94(d)

2003/10/20

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Secretary-General for his reports on the implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and on the question of small island developing States. The Chinese delegation also associates itself with the statement made by Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

As is indicated in the reports of the Secretary-General, untiring efforts have been made at the national and international levels to implement Agenda 21 and important steps have been taken towards the coordinated development of economy, population, resources and environment since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992. Consensus was reached on the synergy between economic and social development and environmental protection at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. The targets and measures for sustainable development to be achieved by the international community set out by the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation have provided important guidance for the work in the area of sustainable development in the future. Based on the outcomes of WSSD, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) at its eleventh session earlier this year elaborated its future programme of work and identified the orientation of the future work of the United Nations in the field of sustainable development. The international community should seize the current favorable opportunity and make greater efforts to further implement Agenda 21 and the outcomes of WSSD. In this regard, I would like to highlight the following points:

1. International cooperation should be further strengthened. As a common task of countries across the world, sustainable development requires the joint efforts of all. The United Nations, other international organizations and the Governments should develop a new partnership of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit with a view to seeking common development. The Rio Principles established by UNCED, particularly the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" should be respected and complied with by all sides.

2. We need to develop a concept of holistic and balanced development with a view to promoting coordinated economic and social development and harmonious coexistence between man and nature. Poverty eradication, economic and social development and environmental protection are interdependent and complementary. In formulating strategies for sustainable development, nations should give integrated consideration to the multi-disciplinary factors in light of the actual situation of their natural, human and social resources.

3. Effective efforts must be made to resolve the issues concerning means of implementation, such as financing and technology. Developing countries have long faced serious problems in this regard. In our view, the key to the solution of these problems lies in the political will of the developed countries, which could reflect not only in the increase of official development assistance and transfer of technology on favorable terms, but also in such specific actions as opening markets to developing countries, eliminating trade protectionism and reducing and canceling debts.

4. The United Nations should continue to play a leading role in the field of sustainable development. We welcome the decision of CSD to conduct its future work in a two-year cycle, which will enable us to have a more focused consideration of specific issues in the field of sustainable development and facilitate the integration of the actions at sub-regional and regional levels and those actions carried out by the United Nations at the global level, thus contributing to the effective implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of WSSD.

Mr. Chairman,

Small island developing States face a unique situation in their efforts to seek economic development and environmental protection. Over the past 10 years, based on the assistance of the international community as well as the  unremitting efforts of these countries themselves, some progress has been achieved in the implementation of the  Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Active efforts have been made by the small island developing States, in particular, to formulate national strategies for environmental protection and sustainable development, strengthen environmental legislation and improve institutions in charge of environmental protection. Notable achievements have also been made in the regional cooperation among small island developing States.

Nevertheless, we should also note that there is still a long way to go to reach the goals set forth by the Programme of Action. With the further development of globalization, small island developing States is facing even more formidable challenges. We hope that the international conference for the overall review of the implementation of the Programme of Action to be held in Mauritius next year will be an action-oriented meeting, identifying the obstacles and difficulties in the process of the implementation of the Programme of Action, further mobilizing political will, and coming up with specific measures to solve the problems.

Mr. Chairman,

As the largest developing country with major stakes in environmental protection, China attaches great importance to and actively participates in the international cooperation in the field of sustainable development. In the future, China will continue to firmly commit to sustainable development by formulating and actively implementing sustainable development strategies and promoting a coordinated approach to economic and social development and environmental protection, so as to contribute to the global sustainable development. China will, in an open spirit, carry out extensive dialogue and cooperation with other countries and explore various channels of cooperation with them in a joint bid for global sustainable development.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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