Address by Vice Foreign Minister H.E. Li Baodong at the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Mr. President,Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I want to thank H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly, for hosting this event.

Last September, the UN Sustainable Development Summit was successfully held. Leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, opening a new era for human development. The 2030 Agenda is a blueprint charting the course for future development and a commitment carrying significant weight. Attaining 17 goals and 169 targets is never an easy job. We need to act now to translate vision into action and get things started.

We need to champion win-win cooperation to create an enabling international environment for the implementation of the Agenda. Countries should uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, follow the trend of the times featuring peace and development, and work together to maintain regional and international stability and security to make development possible for all countries. It is important to remember that we are all in a community of shared interests, and we need to increase the representation and voice of developing countries in global economic governance, improve multilateral trading and investment systems, and help developing countries integrate into global value chains and benefit from globalization through their own comparative advantages.

We need to follow voluntarism and uphold the basic principles in the implementation of the Agenda. Sustainable development is the goal we all share, but there is more than one way to achieve it. The international community should allow countries to act in the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and formulate development strategies of their own based on national circumstances and development capabilities, so that domestic development and international development agenda will fit. Follow-up and review is crucial, and the principles established by the 2030 Agenda must be honored. National reviews shall be initiated and led by countries, and country-specific experience sharing shall be conducted in a constructive manner.

We need to encourage full participation to form synergy for the implementation of the Agenda. Governments should undertake the primary responsibility for national development and make sustainable development an integral part of policy formulation and implementation. Efforts should be made to both seek early harvest in priority areas where countries enjoy development advantages and strengthen points of weakness to balance economic, social and environmental development. Public and private sectors, research institutes and all other stakeholders should take part in the implementation to strengthen the internal impetus and social foundation for development.

We need to improve partnership to find more resources and means for the implementation of the Agenda. Countries should work together to build a more comprehensive global partnership for development. Developed countries should deliver their ODA commitments on time and in full and, in particular, give more financial, technical and capacity-building assistance to the least developed countries. South-South cooperation and third-party cooperation shall have a bigger role to play. Great support should be given to the UN to play a coordinating role in consolidating development resources, promoting experience sharing and coordinating development policies. Major countries should take the lead and inject political impetus to the global process of implementation.

Mr. President,

As the largest developing country in the world, China takes development as its top priority. Last September, President Xi Jinping made the solemn commitment at the UN Development Summit that China will work with all parties to accomplish the Sustainable Development Agenda. Following the summit, we have launched implementation work on all fronts and made progress in the four aspects of top-level design, early harvest, institutional safeguard and development cooperation.

– Last month, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China adopted the Outline of the 13th Five-year Plan for Economic and Social Development, which put forth the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, called for the active implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and aligned China’s tasks of comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up with the 17 sustainable development goals. In other words, the implementation of the Agenda has been embedded in China’s mid- to long-term development program.

– Proceeding from its own national conditions, the Chinese government has identified a host of quantified targets for the next five years, such as lifting the remaining 55.75 million poor rural population out of poverty, creating 50 million new urban jobs, rebuilding 20 million housing units in rundown urban areas and bringing 95% of urban sewage under centralized treatment. These targets are very much in line with the SDGs, and will become elements of early harvest in China’s implementation of the Agenda.

– The Chinese government has set up an inter-agency mechanism comprising 43 government departments to coordinate the implementation of the Agenda, and assigned the 169 targets to competent authorities. We are now working on the country plan for the implementation which will be released before the end of the year. The 43 Chinese government departments will also draw up their own implementation plans to ensure clear responsibilities for each part of the work. We will improve the mechanism as we go forward to ensure effective implementation of the Agenda.

– The Chinese government will unswervingly advance international exchanges and cooperation, including South-South cooperation. Here, I wish to inform you that development cooperation initiatives which President Xi announced last year are being actively implemented. We are working to establish the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation; the China-UN Peace and Development Fund will be put into operation before the end of this year; and the Academy of South-South Cooperation and Development will enroll students soon. China has released its Position Paper on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, making clear its basic position and vision regarding the implementation. In July 2016, China will give a voluntary presentation at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to share experience with other parties in a joint pursuit of development.