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Statement by Dr. LIU Yuyin, Chinese Delegate, at the 62nd Session of the GA on Agenda Item 55 "Implementation of the Outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and Strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)"
31 October 2007

2007/10/31

Madam Chairperson,

The Chinese Delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for his report submitted under this item. It would also like to associate itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of G77 and China.

Madam Chairperson,

Since the start of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in 1996, the international community has made concerted efforts to address effectively the issues of human settlements and environment and achieved some results. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has also made remarkable contributions. It is particularly noteworthy that the twenty-first session of its Governing Council held this year adopted the medium-term strategic and institutional plan for 2008–2013, which sets out goals and visions for the further development of human settlements.

However, what also deserves our attention is the fact that the issue of human settlements is still far from being solved. Problems such as housing shortage, inadequate infrastructure, lack of energy resources, deterioration of ecological environment and weakened capacity to deal with disasters remain serious challenges for many developing countries towards the sustainable development of human settlements. It is estimated that this year, urban population will outnumber rural population. Urban problems such as poverty, environment, land management, water resources, sanitation and slums have become new concerns besetting the cause of human settlement. We still have a long way to go in addressing the issues of urbanization and social justice, and in achieving harmonious and sustainable development of human settlements.

Madam Chairperson,

In order to expedite the realization of the twin goals set by Habitat II, namely, "adequate shelter for all" and "sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world", and to implement the Habitat Agenda in a comprehensive and effective manner, China believes the following needs to be born in mind:

First, without economic development, poverty can not be eradicated and necessary conditions will not exist for the solution of the issue of human settlements. The international community should work together to push for economic growth, eradicate poverty and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, so as to lay the foundation for proper human settlements.

Secondly, countries should have ownership of their human settlements policies, which should be realistic and suitable to their specific national situations. Countries vary in their situation and face different problems. Therefore, they should set their policies, strategies, plans and priorities in the field of human settlements on the basis of their own specific situations, capacities and conditions, while learning from others' experience through strengthened exchanges.

Thirdly, human settlements development must adhere to the principle of sustainability. There must be coordination among economic development, social progress, environment protection and the work relating to population growth and human settlements. The development and improvement of human settlements and the protection of the natural environment should become an integrated whole in order to realize sustainable development that is resource and energy efficient.

Fourthly, international cooperation is needed in dealing with human settlements issues. The international community, particularly the developed countries, should faithfully honor their financial and technical commitments to the developing countries, so as to create favorable external conditions for the developing countries to achieve economic and social development and enhance their capacity for human settlements.

Fifthly, urban and rural development should be better integrated, because human settlements developments in the urban and rural areas are interdependent and mutually complementary. While rapid urbanization brings to the forefront issues of urban human settlements, we must not forget that rural human settlements remains a weak link and a serious challenge in our efforts to address human settlements in the world. Rural and urban development planning should be synchronized to promote further integration of rural and urban economies with a view to achieving a balanced development of human habitats in both areas.

Sixthly, addressing the issue of human settlements calls for the involvement of the whole society, with the government in the lead and the broad participation of all sectors, industries and communities. Awareness campaign on the issue of human settlements should be enhanced to stimulate participation by the general public. Models of cooperation involving various channels and partners such as local governments, NGOs, private sectors, women and youth should be explored for making joint endeavors to develop and improve the environment for human settlements.

Madam Chairperson,

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of human settlements, and has worked to fulfill in earnest its commitments made at Habitat II and the Special Session of the GA on Human Settlements. The Chinese government treats human habitat development as a priority. By joining hands with local governments, enterprises, civil society groups and local residents, and in keeping with the scientific concept of development that is people centered and stresses comprehensiveness, coordination and sustainability, it has been working hard to promote the integrated and harmonious development of rural and urban areas, of economy and society, and of man and nature. It has taken strong measures to improve the living standard of its people and to create a safe, healthy and comfortable living environment for them.

The above mentioned efforts have resulted in remarkable accomplishments in the field of human settlements. As a result of our drive towards the goal of "proper housing for all", in 2003, the average housing space in China reached 23.7 square meters per person for urban residents and 27.2 square meters per person for rural residents. At the same time, efforts have also been made to improve the living environment. Since 1990, 12 cities in China have been awarded the "World Habitat Awards" by the UN. In 2000, the Chinese government set up its own "China Habitat Award" and "China Model Habitat Award" to honor those cities, towns, entities and individuals that have achieved great accomplishments in sustainable urban development and the improvement of human habitat, creating a tremendous impetus to the development of human habitat in China.

Madam Chairperson,

The World Urban Forum is an important platform for dialogue among the partners of the Habitat Agenda. From 13 to 17 Oct. 2008, the fourth session of the Forum will be held in Nanjing, China, with the theme of "harmonious urbanization". We believe that this meeting will provide fresh inputs for the progress in the development of human settlements.

China stands ready to further strengthen cooperation and exchanges with other countries and with international organizations such as UN-Habitat so as to work together to realize the goal of sustainable development of human settlements.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

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