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Comments by the Chinese Delegation on Progress in the Field of Human Settlements at Csd12
( 22 April 2004, New York)

2004/04/22


Mr. Chairman:

As a follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development has continued to leverage its advantage of integrated thinking and global perspective by choosing the inter-sectoral issues of water, sanitation and human settlements as a theme cluster for its 12th session. This allows member states to discuss the problems, obstacles and constraints which stand in the way of their implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, WSSD's time-bound goals and Agenda 21 while sharing their experience and lessons. I believe that the session will help contribute to improvements and progress in human settlements.

To realize the sustainable development of human settlements, countries have exerted great efforts and made headway. Contributions made by the international community, in general, and by the competent UN agencies, in particular, are also note-worthy. Nonetheless, we should also be soberly aware of the fact that the sustainability of human settlements around the globe is far from being fundamentally addressed and that inter-regional imbalance, particularly the problems related to human settlements in the developing countries at large, still presents a grave picture. For this reason, it is of great importance to strengthen effectively international cooperation in the field of human settlements.

As the biggest developing country, China has also placed high priority on the implementation of the strategy for sustainable development by keeping its abiding faith in the rational philosophy of comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development.

Through the adoption of robust policy measures, the Chinese Government started tackling the problem at its source, adheres to the principle of addressing both the root cause and the symptoms and pays great attention to maximizing the role of its human settlements partners. As a result, our urban and rural construction as well as human settlements environment have undergone fundamental changes. While China's per capita housing footage in cities and towns has registered an increase, the integrated functions of the residential dwellings have also improved considerably. We have by and large established a residential housing market system that is in keeping with China's specific situation. Residents' house purchasing power has risen by a large margin. In our energetic pursuit of an urbanization strategy with Chinese characteristics, we have stepped up urban planning and upgraded urban construction. While working hard to transform and renew old cities and towns, we have been paying high regard to the preservation of our historical and cultural heritage. Through increased investments, we have succeeded in turning infrastructure construction into a new flash point of economic growth, made big strides in the development of urban infrastructure and multiplied cities' functions for delivering integrated services. By attaching great importance to urban sewage management and environment protection and promoting green ecological development, we have visibly improved the quality of our residential and overrall urban environment. We have vigorously promoted the continuous deepening of our restructuring of the urban construction and environmental management system and have, through governance by law, further improved and perfected a whole array of legislation and regulations governing the construction and administration of residential areas. We have set up working mechanisms for urban disaster prevention and reduction and formulated effective guidelines, which combine disaster preparedness with the building of an ecologically-sound environment. Meanwhile, we view poverty reduction as a top priority and have been working hard to facilitate job creation.

Having achieved these gains, we are also fully aware of the many outstanding problems in the field of human settlements. We will squarely face these problems and challenges and, drawing upon other countries experience and lessons in this area, make a meticulous analysis and work out possible solutions and responses.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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