|Statement by Minister Counsellor XIE Xiaowu of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations at the Second Committee of the 66th Session of the GA under Agenda Item 21(b) Science and Technology for Development|
The Chinese Delegation welcomes the report of the Secretary-General contained in document A/66/208. China aligns itself with the statement by Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
For many years, the United Nations, in resolutions adopted under the current agenda item, has requested the Commission on Science and Technology for Development to assist ECOSOC in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society and satisfy the special needs of Member States, especially developing countries, in such areas as agricultural and rural development, information and communication technologies and environmental management. The UN also encourages UNCTAD and other relevant organizations to help developing countries incorporate policies for scientific and technological innovation into their national development strategies. There is an increasing consensus in the international community to fully leverage the power of science and technology to eradicate poverty, reduce diseases, improve living standards, conserve energy, cut emission, respond to climate change, ensure food security and achieve the MDGs.
The deadline for achieving the MDGs is only four years away. We must give full play to the pivotal role of science and technology in addressing major issues that affect lives across the globe, including food and energy security, climate change, the transformation of traditional industries and the incubation of new ones, and the recovery from economic crisis.
First, we must adhere to the principle of science and technology for development. In instances where human civilization survived crises or leaped forward, the credit often went to major technological breakthroughs and innovation. Be it the quest for sustainable development of developing countries or the challenge of overcoming the economic crisis in developed economies, the ultimate answer lies in science and technology.
Second, we must increase technical assistance to developing countries. It is better to teach a man how to fish than to give him a fish. The international community, especially developed countries, should further increase technical assistance and technology transfer to developing countries and help develop human resources, so as to help developing countries achieve the MDGs on time. Developed countries should recognize that by reducing or removing export restrictions on high and new technologies, and by increasing technology transfer and export of technological products, they are effectively tackling they own economic crisis and increasing employment.
Third, we should join efforts in major scientific and technological research projects. The advancement of human society and the development of science, technology and economy have increasingly brought to the fore such global issues as climate change, energy bottle-neck, resource shortage, food security, disease control and deep space exploration. Scientific research in these fields is beyond the capacity of one country, even the combined capacity of a few countries. The multi-country International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, for instance, requires investment in the order of tens of billions of euros. Strengthening cooperation, therefore, is the only way to achieve common development of the humankind.
Fourth, we should emphasize the safety of high and new technologies. The application of high-techs requires a large number of high-calibre personnel, and new-techs often lack adequate test by practice. The international community should demand that during the research of high and new technologies and the promotion of their applications, developers should take safety seriously and adopt concrete safety measures. In particular, they should be responsible for the personal and environmental safety of recipients when transferring technologies to developing countries.
Building an innovation-oriented country and leveraging science and technology for development have been identified as China’s development strategy on the basis of domestic and international experience. In recent years, China has made strong inroads into such fields as super-rice, super-computer, manned space flight, genome research, high-speed railway and deep sea exploration, and developed some of the world’s leading-edge technologies. The level of science and technology has improved significantly across our society. For instance, the yield of our super-rice has exceeded 900 kg per mu (or 13.5 metric tons per hectare) in extensive field experiments. According to experts’ estimate, if this hybrid variant is planted on a massive scale, the yield increase will translate into enough food to feed additional hundreds of millions of people. The extensive application of home-grown and international technologies has been a major driver of China’s fast, sustained and steady socio-economic development. The information and communication technology industry, for example, has maintained double-digit growth for many years running and accounted for over 10% of the country’s GDP in 2010.
According to the World Bank, despite having become the world’s second largest economy, China still lags behind more than 80 countries in terms of GDP per capita. China’s development is still unbalanced with considerable gaps between the coastal and inland regions, between urban and rural areas, and between high and low income groups. China still has a large poverty-stricken population, and faces formidable development challenges. Nevertheless, China will remain committed to providing technical assistance to developing countries to the best of its ability. We have established China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program (CASTEP). We will continue to carry out scientific and technological cooperation with developing countries, and build partnerships that bring about mutual benefit and common development.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.