Vice Premier Liu Yandong Highlights China’s Commitment to 2030 Agenda in meeting with Director-General
In line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda, inclusion, equity and innovation are hallmarks of China’s development strategy, affirmed Vice-Premier Liu Yandong during an extensive exchange with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on 5 June 2016, on the grounds of Beijing’s Forbidden City, one of the country’s first world heritage sites.
Underlining the significance of deepening cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and UNESCO, she stressed the driving role of education, culture, creativity and scientific innovation to achieve China’s development ambitions by 2020. This is reflected in the country’s current 13th Five-Year Plan, which resonates with UNESCO’s mandate and the comprehensive and interconnected character of the sustainable development goals.
To improve human well-being, protect the environment and preserve resources, the Vice Premier said that priority is set on “realizing sustainable, balanced and coordinated development.”
To leave no one behind, China aims to lift 55 million people out of poverty and create jobs for 60 million people by 2020 – an ambition that calls for maintaining steady growth and investment in education, science, technology and innovation to manage the economic transition.
Accounting for 18.5% of the budget, the Vice Premier affirmed that education is the basis for the country’s development, with the focus placed on reducing inequalities between urban and rural areas and vigorously expanding technical and vocational education. She outlined measures to encourage entrepreneurship and to promote access of more vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to university, and the importance of increased connectivity.
The Vice Premier said that “culture and cultural industries are viewed as an important part of our economic development,” referring to over 4500 museums nationwide, cultural facilities in 600,000 villages and the rapid growth in film production, libraries, science and other specialized museums.
She also emphasized China’s commitment to South-South cooperation, through support to developing countries and experience sharing.
To further promote cultural dialogue, she noted the importance of people-to-people exchanges, especially through higher education in countries along the Silk Belt and Road, which account for more than half the world’s population.
The Director-General commended the Vice Premier for China’s strong commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda, which sets a leading example of national ownership.
She expressed appreciation for the wide-ranging cooperation between China and UNESCO, which is also benefiting educational development in Africa and putting the global spotlight on girls’ and women’s education.
She recalled the critical influence of the Hangzhou Conference on Culture and Development in 2013, which paved the way for the recognition of culture in the 2030 Agenda.
“Culture creates jobs and social cohesion, and it is linked through education to values, history and respect, “ said the Director-General. “All countries are seeking new models of development to encourage creativity, and innovation, to create jobs and protect the environment. Your comprehensive approach draws on the soft power that UNESCO promotes to achieve sustainable development, improve human well-being and address climate change.”
The Director-General arrived in Beijing on 5 June 2016, where she will award the first Girls’ and Women’s Education Prize and open the 2nd UNESCO Creative Cities Summit.
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