|Statement by Wang Qi, Advisor of the Chinese Delegation on Item 54: Implementation of the Outcomes of the UN Habitat II and Strengthening of the UN-Habitat|
The Chinese delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his report on this item, and associates itself with the statement made by the representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The solution to the question of human settlements in developing countries is the key to the overall improvement of human settlements around the world and should be the focus of our efforts in this regard. As the Secretary-General pointed out in his report, many developing countries are faced with severe challenges in the sustainable development of human settlements. Nevertheless, instead of being pessimistic and evading their responsibilities, they have made political commitments, formulated well-targeted policies and implemented reform programs in a proactive effort to improve their human settlements situation. At the same time, we must not lose sight of the worrisome reality that the question of human settlements is far from being resolved with more than 900 million people, namely 30% of the world's urban population, still living in slums. In the absence of decisive actions, the number is expected to rise to 2 billion in 30 years, almost all in developing countries. In order to achieve the two objectives of "adequate shelter for all" and "sustainable development of human settlements in an urbanizing world" set forth by Habitat II, we must implement the Habitat Agenda comprehensively and effectively.
Sustainable development is the only way to resolve the question of human settlements, which boils down to the issue of development. Sustained economic growth is significant to the solution of the question of human settlements, especially for the developing countries. At the same time, as human settlements development is an important component part of sustainable development, our efforts in this regard must be based on a scientific approach that stresses comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, so that a virtuous circle can be formed, in which efforts in this area are in sync with population growth, development of productivity, rational exploitation of resources and environmental protection.
Due to its extensive scope and inclusive nature, the question of human settlements needs to be addressed through joint efforts. Since national governments bear the primary responsibility for resolving problems related to human settlements, they must, on the basis of their respective national conditions and capabilities, formulate and effectively implement human settlements policies, strategies and plans with identified priorities. On its part, the international community, particularly the developed countries, should put the common interests of mankind before anything else; provide financial, trade and debt relief facilities to the developing countries in order to create favorable external conditions for their social and economic development and enhance their capability to improve human settlements. As human settlements are the common cause of the whole society, it is imperative to promote the widest possible participation. Local governments, private sectors and all other partners of the Habitat Agenda should be encouraged to bring into play their enthusiasm and creativity in the common endeavor to improve and develop human settlements.
UN Habitat should play its due role. In recent years, it has done a lot of useful work in raising public awareness and disseminating best practices in the field of human settlements. It has also played a crucial role in implementing the Habitat Agenda. We endorse and support further strengthening UN Habitat so that it could fully utilize its strength and enhance its activities at country level in norm-setting and capacity-building.
Currently, China is going through rapid urbanization. Improving the living conditions of our people and providing safe, healthy and comfortable human settlements represent an important task and also constitute a major challenge for the Chinese government. In faithfully fulfilling its commitments under Habitat II and the Special Session on Human Settlements, the Chinese government has taken vigorous measures in order to realize its goals in the filed of human settlements. We have given full play to the initiative of local governments, increased input in the construction of human settlements environment and engaged in comprehensive management of human settlements. In housing construction, we advocate centralized planning, rational lay-out, integrated development and packaged construction with necessary accessory facilities. The role of adjustment and control of urban and rural planning is given full play. At the same time, we have also stepped up the work of renovating old cities. By using incentive mechanisms such as the election of the recipients of "China Human Settlements Environment Award" and titles such as "National Garden City", "Ecological-friendly Garden City", and "Water-efficient City", the government tries to encourage local governments to invest in human settlements improvement and sustainable urban development by making greater efforts in urban ecological environment construction and tree-planting. At present, our cities are equipped with roads and public transport facilities that are in good condition and well-functioning; our work in reducing urban noises and air pollution has yielded results; and we have improved garbage classification and collection and resources recycle in urban areas. As a result, we have achieved continuous improvement of urban infrastructure, tangible results in eco-environment construction, and steady increase of our capacity for sustainable urban development.
We stand ready to enhance cooperation and exchanges with other countries in the field of human settlements development in a continuous effort to implement the Habitat Agenda and the millennium development goals, and work not only for the improvement of China's human settlements, but also for the development of human settlements at the global level.
Thank you, Mme. Chairperson.