|Peace, Development and Cooperation Must be Moved Forward Instead of Backward|
Remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi At the Opening Plenary Meeting of the United Nations Special Event To Follow up the Efforts Made to Advance The Millennium Development Goals
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend today’s meeting. We now stand at a crucial stage of global development where, as we review the experience and lessons of implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past 13 years, we also need to accelerate the fulfillment of relevant goals, and formulate a roadmap for the post-2015 development agenda. The Chinese delegation will work with all of you to make this meeting successful.
Thirteen years ago, at the turn of the century, the Millennium Declaration was adopted by our heads of state. This is a path-breaking initiative of the human society and the United Nations. It demonstrated the authority of the UN and the power of international cooperation, and has brought hope to the poor and the disadvantaged.
Over the past 13 years, the international community, by pooling development resources and strengths, has made good progress on meeting the MDGs. The targets for poverty reduction and safe drinking water were achieved ahead of schedule. Malaria fatality was brought down by over 25%. Improvements were also made on the indicators of sanitation, health and education to varying degrees. Hundreds of millions of people have become much better-off.
Nevertheless, we must not forget that in our world today one out of every eight people still live in hunger, over 57 million children are denied schooling, and more than 800 women die every day during childbirth. Such a grim situation forbids any slackness in our efforts. We still face a long and uphill journey before we can achieve “a life of dignity for all”, as called for by the Secretary-General in his report.
Collective wisdom and action has been crucial in setting and meeting the MDGs. As we step up implementation of the established goals and formulate the roadmap of the post-2015 development agenda, we need to fully heed the views of developing countries' who constitute the mainstay in pursuing development, and draw upon the report of the UN High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Chinese delegation has circulated a position paper on the development agenda. Here, I wish to make some further observations.
The MDGs follow the trend of peace, development and cooperation in the 21st century. They represent a noble endeavor of all mankind. Hence, its implementation process must keep moving forward, rather than go backward. We have climbed half-way up the mountain. We need to persevere to get to the top, otherwise all our previous efforts would be lost.
In advancing the development agenda, we must cherish peace as we do our eyes. War has made tens of millions of people homeless, reduced infrastructures to rubble, and brought decades of hard work to nought. To uphold peace is the purpose of the UN Charter as well as the precondition for the MDGs. As a victim of chemical weapons, China is firmly against the use of such weapons. Being a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China strongly supports the efforts of the UN and relevant countries in seeking a political settlement of the issue of chemical weapons in Syria.
As an extension and upgrade of the MDGs, the development agenda must take development as its main objective, follow a people-oriented approach, and prioritize poverty reduction. At this stage, we must pay particular attention to the hunger and unemployment in a number of countries. We need to leverage the role of market and government, develop the social security network, improve infrastructure, build a friendly environment for foreign investors, and enhance the capacity to tackle risks.
A sound external economic environment is indispensible for advancing the development agenda. Countries should work together to uphold an open, inclusive and growing world economy, so that more developing countries could integrate into the global value chain and benefit from it. We must reject trade and investment protectionism, and push forward the WTO Doha round negotiations. Developed countries should undertake due responsibilities in providing development assistance, and adopt responsible macro-economic policies. Countries both in the South and the North should adapt to the trend of economic globalization, pursue win-win outcomes, better coordinate monetary, fiscal, trade, industrial and other macro-policies, and jointly tackle such global challenges as climate change, energy, resources and food security.
In advancing the development agenda, it is important to respect the national conditions of each country. Countries differ in history, culture and development stage, hence the difference in their development paths. Just as the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome.” There is no need for everyone to take the same path. The path of others could be of useful reference, but may not be suitable for oneself. Be it the Chinese dream or the American dream, European dream or African dream —they are all about aspiration for a happy life, and can be achieved through different ways. None is superior to another, and no one should try to impose his own dream on others. The international community should respect the reality of diversity in the world and tap into the potential of diversity so that countries can achieve their own development goals through mutual learning and mutual accommodation.
It is important to develop a new type of framework for development cooperation. Efforts should be made to improve the international framework on development with the UN at the center and supported by other multilateral institutions. International development institutions should strengthen their function of poverty reduction; financial institutions should increase development financing; and trade institutions should make good use of aid-for-trade. The G20 should give greater attention to development issues. Cooperation at the regional and sub-regional levels can play a pioneering and experimental role.
It is important to strengthen enforcement and supervision. Commitment should be more than words on paper; it should be followed up by action. The post-2015 development agenda is an extension of the MDGs and more importantly, will serve as an upgraded version for global development. Therefore, we must strengthen its follow-up implementation mechanism. Development financing is the fuel of development cooperation and as such, its provision must be guaranteed. North-South cooperation should continue to serve as the main channel, and coordination between financial input and technical assistance should be enhanced. The United Nations and its specialized agencies should play a leading and coordinating role on these issues.
China has actively implemented the MDGs. It is the first developing country to meet the poverty reduction goal ahead of schedule and has made important contribution to South-South cooperation. Over the past 13 years, China has provided assistance to over 120 developing countries under the South-South framework. Altogether, it has built over 200 schools and more than 30 hospitals and malaria control centers, and trained over 80,000 professionals of all types. China, though not rich itself, is happy to help others. We have no intention to export our system or model, but we will be happy if other developing countries would have one more option to be taken as reference. We will manage our own affairs well and, meanwhile, will do what we can to help our friends. This is the positive energy China contributes to the cause of human development.
Here let me share with you the story of Jinping County, Yunnan, a border province in China’s southwest, where people earn less than two US dollars a day. The county government, by capitalizing on local revenues and external assistance, has helped local farmers dig wells and grow rubber and tea trees, and provided skill training courses to those who wish to work in cities, making every effort to turn the county from a recipient of "blood transfusion" into one capable of "blood creation". Last year, the Foreign Ministry of China made a 7,300-kilometer-long love journey: we sponsored a medical treatment trip for 43 children of congenital heart disease from the mountains of Jinping County to Beijing, where they were treated and regained health and happiness. If you would only see their smile—the most beautiful thing in the world. Now the people in Jinping, by mainly relying on their own efforts and supplemented by external assistance, are leading a better life day by day: the living and studying conditions of children are improving, and the 360,000 Jinping people are moving ever closer to reaching the MDGs. As we often say, where there is a will, there is a way. No better example could be found of it than the Jinping story.