China Exchanges with UN Leaders on the Sustainable Development Goals
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova participated in a round table chaired by the Premier of the State Council, Mr Li Keqiang, on “China’s perspective on the Sustainable Development Goals as a universal push to transform our world," organized during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September, 2016.
“Sustainable development is a common cause for the world,” affirmed Premier Li. “We must continue to address unbalanced development and promote inclusive economic growth.”
He noted that specific attention was placed on SDG follow-up at the recent G20 Hangzhou Summit and that China adopted a National Plan on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with ambitious targets to lift 57 million people from poverty by 2020 and improve standards in health, education and housing.
During the event, the UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly, several UN principals, the World Bank President and the Head of the International Monetary Fund took the floor to underscore China’s key role in driving progress on the SDGs.
“This roundtable could not come at a better time, one year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and during China’s G20 Chairmanship,” said Irina Bokova.
Citing President Xi’s words to the G20 Hangzhou Summit, where he stated that “development is for the people, it should be pursued by the people and its outcomes shared by the people,” she praised China for its leadership in sharing expertise widely and investing in education, culture and science for inclusive peace and prosperity.
“China recognizes the power of culture and cultural heritage for dialogue and development. It is sharing its experience in education, science and culture, supporting South-South cooperation in engineering,” said Ms Bokova, citing the historic scale of China’s links to UNESCO, with 48 World Heritage properties, 38 inscriptions on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List, 33 Biosphere Reserves, 18 UNESCO Chairs, 8 creative cities and important development cooperation programmes that are benefitting least developed countries.
“This is how I believe the agenda will work for the people. It reflects the strong political will of China and the soft power the world needs more than ever today.”
Premier Li underlined China’s commitment to work with the United Nations to implement the agenda. He announced his country’s increased financial contribution to the UN, to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and to the South-South Cooperation Fund. He also referred to the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“We will reach out more to international organizations and we are committed to work on this agenda with the international community. China will always support the UN in playing its role,” he affirmed.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended China for being among the first countries to align national policies with the 2030 Agenda.
“This SDG Agenda is an action agenda. Our role is to ensure coherence, consistency and efficiency in the support we provide to Member States.” He said that China’s ratification of the Climate Change Agreement carries ‘’huge impact” and expressed confidence that the Agreement would enter into force by the end of the year.
UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson recalled that his country, Fiji, was the first to ratify the Paris Agreement and joined in commending China for its decision, as well as the Green Finance Action Plan agreed in Hangzhou. He emphasized the need to expand awareness of the Global Goals at the school level, by including teaching on the SDGs in every curriculum.
“Far more needs to be done to make a meaningful change. The international community must focus on delivering added value in an efficient, innovative and coherent manner.”
<- Back to: All news