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Statement of Mr. Yao Shaojun, Counsellor of Chinese Mission to the UN in the event of inter-generational dialogues on the SDGs

2017-08-01 22:08

It is my honor to speak at this important event. The theme of this event is inter-generational dialogues on the SDGs. As you can see, I am not so young, and not so old, just in the middle. I hope that I could be a bridge between young and old generation.

Today I would like to share with you my thoughts about SDGs, what is the impact of SDGs for the youth and older persons? In the end, I will share some ideas on how to turn the SDGs into reality, while tell you some inspiring stories of China.

In Sept 2015, our Heads of States and Governments adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 goals and 169 targets. It is a historic milestone for human kind. It sets the direction of future development of the world, and frames the guideline of the work of UN. The Agenda makes it clear that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. That means poverty eradication is the core and priority of the 2030 Agenda.

Because of the joint efforts of member states and civil societies, there are a lot of significant improvements in the Agenda, compared with MDGs, one of them is the inclusion of older persons and making age as an important factor. For the first time, there are 2 goals on older persons, one is goal 2 about hunger, the other is goal 11 about sustainable city. The Agenda also stresses the importance of data disaggregated by age. In my view, the 2030 Agenda is a great achievement for the benefit of aging population.

For the youth, the Agenda is even better. It has 3 goals on youth, one is goal 4 about quality education, one is goal 8 about productive employment, another is goal 13 about climate change. As you can see, all these 3 goals are very important for the youth. Throughout the Agenda, the youth is not only regarded as beneficiary, but also as agents of change. The Agenda is yours! The future is yours!

We have made great progress, but we need to keep working. The blueprint has been drawn, but the more important job is to turn it into reality.

First, all member states should implement the Agenda comprehensively and without delay. The Agenda need to be incorporated into national development plan. A national working mechanism for this purpose should be established. Financial budget for implementation should be allotted. Public awareness of the Agenda should be raised all over the country.

For China, we adopted the 13th Five Year Plan for Development at the beginning of 2016, in which the Agenda has been fully integrated. The Plan draws up five new concepts of development, which are innovative development, coordinated development, green development, open development and sharing development. These five new concepts of development is fully in line with the spirit of the Agenda, making innovation as the impetus of development, coordinating the economic growth, social development and environmental protection, ensuring that no one is left behind through win-win cooperation and equitable benefit sharing.

We have established the national working mechanism for implementation of the Agenda consisting of 43 Ministries. We have been launching social campaign to promote and support the Agenda, with full engagement of civil society and private sector. We adopted national plan for the implementation of the Agenda last Sept. With the leadership of China As the Chair of G20 in 2016, G20 Hang Zhou Summit adopted an action plan to implement the Agenda. Based on the 13th Five Year Plan, China also adopted national plans respectively for aging population and the youth.

Second, tailored and targeted actions according to national conditions and priorities are crucial. The Agenda is global in nature and universally applicable, it also highlights that there are different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country, in accordance with its national circumstances and priorities, to achieve sustainable development. For developing countries, poverty eradication, education, heath and employment are the priorities at current stage. They are the basis for sustainable development. These goals are also most important for the youth and older persons.

In China, poverty eradication is the most important and urgent task. We have helped 852.6 million Chinese people out of poverty since 1981, and contribute more than 70% for poverty eradication all over the world. At the end of 2015, Chinese government made a commitment to reduce the number of rural people living in poverty from more than 50 million to zero before 2020. That is very ambitious, but we have full confidence. Last year, we lowered that number by 12.4 million. It is on the right track.

We came to develop a set of targeted strategies of poverty eradication. There is a special office in the State Council in charge of poverty eradication. We had extensive research and study of the situation all over China at all level, and have real time data on the poor families and its cause of poverty. Then, we take targeted measures to help each of them, either through providing opportunity of education, creating jobs, social protection, or moving them out of the area where is not fit for living based on their consent. The government pays the budget. We have regular review of those efforts to make sure good results.

Third, we need to strengthen partnership. All member states and it’s people become more and more interdependent and interconnected. Facing all the challenges, we are in the same boat. We need to foster a community of shared future for mankind. The 2030 Agenda is our shared agenda, and its implementation will depend on a global partnership with the active engagement of governments, as well as civil society, the private sector and the UN system. We should implement Goal 17 in letter and spirit. Developed countries should implement fully their ODA commitments. We should enhance the North-South cooperation as the main channel and South-South cooperation as a supplement.

As you may know, China introduced the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to stimulate trade and economic growth along the ancient Silk Road and beyond. It is to enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe, and is also open to other regions such as Africa and South America. There are five pillars in this Initiative: policy coordination, trade promotion, infrastructure connectivity, financial cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. All of them fall within the area of SDGs. By providing important opportunities for countries to deepen cooperation, it has achieved positive outcomes and has tremendous potential to deliver more benefits. Last May, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. The Belt and Road Initiative is a very important platform to promote cooperation in implementing the 2030 Agenda. China is doing its best to strengthen global partnership.

To conclude, Achieving SDGs in 2030 is a must, and time is pressing. We must act now. We must act together.

Thank you! I look forward to having dialogue with you in the future.

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