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Statement by Ms. Zhang Xiao'an, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations on "Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Program for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21" at the Second Committee of the 57th Session of the General Assembly


Mr. Chairman,

Following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) recently concluded in South Africa was another milestone gathering of the international community in the field of environment and development. Leaders around the world were present at the Summit in Johannesburg to discuss the important issue of global sustainable development, thus demonstrating the determination of the international community to achieve this objective. Also at the Summit, the parties concerned reached consensus on the further implementation of Agenda 21 to promote coordinated development in economic, social and environmental fields. They did so in the spirit of enhanced multilateralism and international cooperation and with the strong desire to coordinate in meeting challenges and achieving sustainable development. Efforts were also made to push forward the process of bringing the Kyoto Protocol into effect. The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation adopted at the Summit have determined the specific targets and measures for the international community to achieve sustainable development and can therefore serve as the guide for the future work in this area. At present, the international community should seize the momentum to implement, at an early date, the outcome of the Summit and establish the appropriate follow-up mechanism so as to turn targets and commitments into action and reality.

Mr. Chairman,

In order to achieve the targets set in Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and implement the outcome of WSSD, we believe that,

1. While countries make their own efforts, international cooperation in the area of

environment and development should be strengthened. This is of critical importance to achieving sustainable development. Countries and regions should aim at common development and establish new partnership based on mutual respect, equality and reciprocity. Sustainable development is the common task of the world as a whole, but developed countries need to undertake greater responsibilities. Therefore, the Rio Principles set forth at the Rio Conference, in particular, the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" shall always serve as the prerequisite for international cooperation in this field.

2. Problems relating to the means of implementation, such as financial resources and technologies, should be solved in a concrete way. It is a must for countries to have adequate financial resources, relevant technologies and experienced and skilled personnel to implement Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. For a long time, developing countries have encountered serious difficulties in the means of implementation. If these problems remain unsolved, sustainable development will be nothing but empty talk. Ten years ago, in Agenda 21, developed countries committed themselves to providing new and additional resources for sustainable development. Ten years have passed. However, the resources are not yet in place and Agenda 21 has not been implemented effectively. Now that we have adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, are we going to see history repeat itself in ten years'time? This is what we are very much concerned about. In our view, the political will of the developed countries is the key to solving such problems as financial resources and transfer of technologies. Political will means not only an increase in ODA and transfer of technologies under preferential terms, but also market access to developing countries, elimination of trade protectionism and reduction and cancellation of debts. Without political will, there will be no real action. If the developed countries are serious about protecting our common earth, they have to demonstrate their political sincerity through real action.

3. A follow-up mechanism of WSSD shall be set up at an early date with the

Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) as its core. We support the idea that CSD shall continue to serve as the major forum within the UN system for discussion and consideration of sustainable development. We are in favor of convening an organizational session of CSD early next year to determine future methodologies and work plans for CSD.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the years, the Chinese Government has attached great importance to sustainable development and has integrated it into the overall strategy for national economic development. Premier Zhu Rongji led the Chinese delegation to WSSD and declared at the Summit that the Chinese Government had ratified the Kyoto Protocol, thereby demonstrating China's determination to join global efforts in the face of climate change. In the wake of WSSD, China will, on the basis of the priorities in its strategy for sustainable development, carry out the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation in real earnest so as to promote sustainable development. In this regard, China is also ready to work with countries and international organizations, through different channels, at different levels and in different forms, to make its due contribution to global sustainable development.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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