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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yishan Head of the Chinese Delegation and Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN
At High-level Segment of 2005 ECOSOC Substantive Meeting

2005/07/01

Mr. Chairman,

At 2000 UN Millennium Summit, national leaders resolved to meet MDGs in 15 years. One third of the time has passed, but the implementation is far behind the expected level. Goals are not just figures, they are criteria of human progress, involving lives and interests of millions of people and forming the foundation for peace and stability. Without prompt and effective actions, we will lose our fight against poverty, hunger and backwardness, at the cost of numerous valuable lives and world stability and security. We look forward to seeing more bold, specific and pragmatic decisions on timely realization of MDGs at global level. We hope that through our joint efforts at this meeting, we will be able to lay a solid foundation for the coming summit.

The greatest significance of achieving MDGs is to use concrete, time-specified and measurable ways, mobilize all forces and resources, and develop partnership for the most urgent global issue – development. MDGs are common commitments of all countries. We must share the responsibility, encourage and supervise each other, and turn commitments into actions.

First, we need initiatives at national level. Countries shoulder the main responsibility for their own national development. Though there are different starting points, we all march towards the same direction -- MDGs. It is necessary for countries to embody MDGs into national development strategies. While formulating long-term plans, they also need to adopt pragmatic strategies and measures, and act in a gradual and orderly manner. For many developing countries, due to historical and current reasons, they are faced with more obstacles and greater difficulties in realizing development goals. They should therefore focus on important areas first, formulate strategies for poverty eradication, make good use of both domestic resources and international support, and carry out implementation step by step. To become more competitive and build capacity for self-development, countries need to take resolute actions in structural reforms, improve their polices, reinforce personnel training and gradually improve their level of management. There is no panacea for development, and the importance for finding a development path suited to one’s own national conditions can never be overemphasized. Countries can conduct exchanges, sum up experiences and lessons, and learn from each other. The international community should encourage and leave sufficient “policy space” for developing countries in their exploration and implementation.

Second, we need assistance from the international community. Some EU countries have formulated timetables to reach internationally agreed ODA targets and G8 financial ministers have taken the initiatives to exempt the multilateral debts of 18 HIPCs. These mark important steps towards the right direction. We hope that other developed countries will also make active aid efforts. We support the endeavor to find innovative financing ways as a complement to ODA. We also look forward to the pilot projects of IFF and international airfare financing, which will hopefully provide experiences for wider financing arrangement. Countries should make concerted efforts in establishing an open, fair and rule-based multilateral trade system, so that the Doha Round will conclude timely and successfully and reflect in concrete ways the core of development, especially in expanding market access for competitive products of developing countries. The international community should adopt measurable actions to enhance developing countries’ participation in economic decision making, correct structural imbalance, and at the same time, ensure policy consistency and coordination of relevant international financial and trade agencies, maintain stability of economic and financial order, and effectively ward off and respond to economic turbulences and financial risks. In a word, the international community should do better, faster and more to assist developing countries.

Third, we need participation of civil society. MDGs are the agenda of people, and should therefore be enjoyed and owned by the people. Civil society and private sectors are active forces for realizing MDGs. National governments should create conditions and encourage them to be involved in a wide spectrum of causes for poverty eradication, education and gender equality. Efforts should be made to strengthen public-private partnership, improve mechanisms, and guide enterprises and civil society to more active role in employment, environmental protection, and HIV/AIDS prevention, so that they will contribute more to MDGs.

Fourth, we need the leading action of the UN. The UN should play a leading role in realizing internationally agreed development goals and enhancing wide-ranging development. Strengthened UN role in development should be made a priority in UN overall reform. We should also strengthen ECOSOC function in policy coordination in economic and social fields. The UN should continue and deepen its dialogue and coordination with Breton Woods institutions, the WTO, and the UNCTAD, so as to maintain policy consistency among various institutions and better meet the needs of developing countries. The UN and especially the ECOSOC should supervise more closely the implementation of MDGs, and improve deliberation system, so that it can both evaluate the progress at the national level, and supervise and evaluate implementation of international cooperation and development aid commitment.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Government always believes that development must start at your own country. To formulate and implement development goals has been an important means for our rapid and sustained development. As early as at the beginning of the 1980’s, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, chief architect for China’s reform and opening up, put forward the concept of building a “well-off society”. Based on this concept, China has formulated 70-year long-term program for economic and social development. Over the past 27 years, China’s economy has witnessed historic progress, leading to marked achievements in realizing MDGs. In China, most MDGs are expected to be realized, and some have been reached ahead of schedule.

China’s stable economic and social development is due to the following main factors: First of all, we have made consistent efforts to find an appropriate road of development suitable to China’s national conditions and formulated independently development strategies and plans. Secondly, we have focused on economic development, and increased our national aggregates by maintaining steady and high-speed economic growth. To achieve all-round social development, equal importance has also been given to infrastructure, education and public health. Thirdly, we have attached great importance to building structures, deepening reforms and opening up, and enhancing capacity in managing state affairs according to law. In recent years, we have paid special attention to reforming governmental functions and improving its efficiency. Fourthly, we have been renewing our development concepts and putting people’s interests first with a view to attaining all-round, balanced and sustained development and building a harmonious society. Fifthly, we have mobilized all social forces and encouraged civil society and enterprises to take an active part in poverty eradication and coordinated development.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to MDGs. We hope that in the process of realizing MDGs, we will further enhance our national development and contribute to global development. After MDGs were set forth at 2000 summit, China set up a number of objectives for building a comprehensive well-off society within 20 years. Based on the new development concept of putting people’s interests first, our goals are fully consistent with MDGs. MDGs have become a part of China’s long-term development program.

China is a big country with a huge population. Our economic and social development is still unbalanced, which is reflected especially in the gap between the urban and rural areas, and between the east and the west of China. We are confronted with many challenges in realizing comprehensive, coordinated and sustained development, including in our efforts to eradicate poverty in most underdeveloped areas, increase farmers’ income, ease employment pressure, improve ecological environment, and raise efficiency of resources usage. There still exist quiet a few difficulties in fighting HIV/AIDS and protecting drinking water and environment. To better respond to these challenges, we will continue to make tireless efforts to implement national development strategies, and at the same time, strengthen exchanges and cooperation with all parties to promote the realization of MDGs.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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