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Statement by H.E. Mr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China at the Thematic Plenary on Adaptation of the United Nations High Level Event on Climate Change
New York, 24 September 2007

2007/09/24
 

Mr. Chairman,

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change is an important development issue which concerns the wellbeing of people of all countries and affects the growth of world economy and our common prosperity. All the members of the international community should view challenges posed by climate change in a broad and long-term context and make concerted efforts to address them.

The United Nations plays an irreplaceable role in tackling climate change. Today's meeting demonstrates that the international community supports the United Nations in continuing to play the leadership role in galvanizing global efforts into addressing climate change.

Mr. Chairman,

Today's meeting should help build consensus through full and democratic discussions and exchange of views among all parties. China hopes it will make progress in the following aspects.

First, adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". Developed countries should meet their emission reduction targets set in the Kyoto Protocol, help developing countries build capacity in tackling climate change and continue to take the lead in reducing emissions after 2012. Developing countries should also take proactive measures and control the growth of greenhouse gas emissions to the best of their ability and in keeping with their particular conditions.

Second, uphold the basic framework established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention has played a leading role in global cooperation in climate change and future cooperation should continue to be conducted within the framework of the Convention. China also welcomes practical cooperation under other initiatives and mechanisms, which should serve as supplements to the framework of the convention.

Third, advance international cooperation on climate change in a balanced way. Mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology, being all important means in addressing climate change, should receive equal attention. It is necessary to increase financial assistance and technology transfer to developing countries. But in doing so, one should not lay undue emphasis on the role of the market mechanism. Still less should one attempt to shift all the responsibilities of tackling climate change onto the market.

Mr. Chairman,

Adaptation to climate change is an issue of greatest concern to developing countries, and it is also an important part of the effort to address challenges of climate change. China supports practical cooperation on adaptation in order to strengthen capacity building of all countries. In this connection, I wish to emphasize the following points:

I. Take a long term view and promote sustainable development. All countries should take adaptation to climate change as an important part of their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and incorporate it into their economic and social development strategy. The international community, developed countries in particular, should act as partners for common development and help developing countries strengthen adaptation capacities and the ability to respond to climate-related disasters in accordance with the principles of the UNFCCC.

II. Increase input and provide adequate adaptation fund. The Adaptation Fund under the Protocol should be launched at an early date and should be accessible to all developing countries. The operation of the

Global Environment Fund and the Clean Development Mechanism should be improved so that developing countries can benefit more from them. The sources of financing should be expanded so as to offer new and additional financial support to developing countries in adapting to climate change.

III. Apply advances in science and technology and enhance cooperation in technology and technology transfer. The international community should consider setting up an effective mechanism to disseminate technology, cut costs, increase information sharing and technology transfer, and ensure that developing countries have access to affordable and applicable environment-friendly technologies. Efforts should be made to reduce trade and technical barriers and reinforce international cooperation in technological research, development and innovation.

Mr. Chairman,

China is a developing country severely affected by climate change. The Chinese Government takes environmental protection as a basic national policy and the scientific thinking on development as a guiding principle in governance. It has set up the National Leading Group on Addressing Climate Change, passed a series of laws and regulations and formulated the National Program on Addressing Climate Change.

To respond to climate change, China has adopted a series of policy measures, which have proved effective.

* Between 1991 and 2005, the total energy saved in China amounted to 800 million tons of standard coal, equivalent to reducing 1.8 billion tons of CO2 emission.

* The proportion of coal in China's primary energy consumption fell to 69.1% in 2005 from 76.2% in 1990.

* Between 1980 and 2005, a total of 3.06 billion tons of CO2 was absorbed thanks to afforestation, 1.62 billion tons of CO2 was absorbed as a result of forest management and emission of 430 million tons of CO2 was prevented by reducing deforestation.

* Thanks to its family planning policy pursued since the 1970s, China has been able to avoid the increase of its population by more than 300 million, equivalent to reducing 1.2 billion tons of CO2 emission annually.

* In China's 11th Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development for 2006 to 2010, a target is set to reduce energy intensity by 20% and discharge of main pollutants by 10% and raising forest cover from 18.2% to 20% for the period between the end of 2005 and 2010.

China is working hard to improve its capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change on its agriculture, the ecosystem and water resources, to prevent and get prepared for natural disasters, and minimize damages caused by weather-related disasters.

* China will upgrade 24 million hectares of grassland and bring under control degradation, desertification and alkalinization of 52 million hectares of grassland.

 * China will strive to effectively protect around 90% of its typical forest ecosystems and endangered species, raise the proportion of natural reserves to about 16% of the country's total land area, and treat 22 million hectares of desertified land.

All these steps taken by China are part of the global efforts to address climate change. Acting in accordance with the UNFCCC, its Protocol and the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", China is living up to its due international responsibilities and obligations and will make greater contribution to international cooperation in climate change. China will also continue to act according to its ability to help Africa and Small Island Developing States enhance their capacity to adapt to climate change. At the recent APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, China proposed to establish the Asia-Pacific Network on Forest Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management. China wishes to work with all parties to undertake this initiative and boost efforts in the Asia-Pacific region to address climate change.

China stands ready to work with the rest of the international community to build a world of harmonious, clean and sustainable development.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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