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Statement by Ambassador Shen Guofang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, on Item 98 (a): Environment and Sustainable Development: Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 at the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

2001-10-30 00:00

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, let me thank the Secretary-General for his report on the progress in preparatory activities for the World Summit on Sustainable Development as well as for the presentation of the report by the Secretariat. Meanwhile, the Chinese Delegation fully supports the statement by the representative of Iran on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

In the past nine years since the adoption of Agenda 21, the international community has achieved some positive results in the implementation of Agenda 21 and in the international cooperation on environment and development.  The notion of sustainable development has won the hearts of people. Many countries have integrated sustainable development into their economic and social development strategies.  The pace of international environmental legislation is accelerating.  Diversified regional and bilateral cooperation on environment and development is deepening continuously.  At the same time, however, there is no denying that the deterioration of the global environment has not yet been reversed. Nor have the sustainable development goals set by the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development been achieved.  There has been little progress in the international cooperation on issues such as financial resources and transfer of technology.  The proportion of ODA in the GNP of developed countries went down from 0.35% in 1991 to a historical low of 0.22% in 2000.  All these have seriously restrained the efforts for sustainable development by developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,
The World Summit on Sustainable Development will mark another milestone in the field of international environment and development.  The international community should take this good opportunity to revitalize the Rio spirit and the new global partnership.  We believe the following are critical to the success of the Summit:

First, the Summit should maintain and implement the principles laid down at the UNCED.  The UNCED set a series of basic principles for the promotion of global sustainable development, such as the integration of environment and development, common but differentiated responsibilities and respect for sovereign rights over resources.  They represent the common understanding of the international community and the precondition and guarantee for the international cooperation on sustainable development.  The Summit, therefore, should not only reiterates these principles but also works for their implementation through concrete measures.

Second, the focus of the Summit should be on a comprehensive review of the implementation of Agenda 21, identifying problems, obstacles and the gap between commitments and actions taken, and on this basis, further mobilize political will and formulate specific action-oriented programmes, so as to solve existing problems and promote the full implementation of Agenda 21.

Third, priorities of the Summit should be on helping developing countries overcome difficulties and obstacles in their way to achieve sustainable development and finding the solution for means of implementation.  Since Agenda 21 was formulated, the vast number of developing countries have made great efforts for its implementation, but, still, poverty and lack of development have combined to make developing countries the biggest victims of environmental deterioration. Despite strengthening their internal efforts, sufficient financial and sound technical support is indispensable for developing countries to promote sustainable development and implement Agenda 21.  To this end, the Summit should link the sectoral issues with the cross-sectoral issues in its review, so as to result in specific timetables and programmes regarding the implementation of commitments on financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity building.

Fourth, discussions regarding the International Environmental Governance (IEG) should be conducted on the basis of a balance among the three pillars of sustainable development.  Any suggestion should be conducive to the full implementation of Agenda 21 and serve to promote the realization of the overall goal of sustainable development.  The discussions need to absorb views from all parties concerned, including relevant international agencies and multilateral environmental agreements, while abide by relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the Summit.  It has already set up a national preparatory committee and begun to work on the national report to  evaluate the situation of environment and development in China.  Last July, The Chinese Government held the Northeast Asia's Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  We are willing to work together with all other countries to make our own contribution to the success of the Summit.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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