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Statement by Dr. Liu Yuyin, the Chinese Delegate, on Agenda Item 49:"Sustainable Development" at the Second Committee of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

2008-10-27 18:30


(27 October 2008, New York)

Madam Chair,

At the outset, the Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports under the Agenda Item 49: sustainable development. The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Item 49 (a): Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Madam Chair,

In recent years, the international community and governments have done a lot of work in implementing Agenda 21 and have taken major steps in promoting the coordination between economic development and development in the fields of population, resources, and environment. However, the recent turbulences in the international financial markets, the energy and food crises, and climate change have become major threats to world economic growth and posed new challenges to sustainable development.

The international community must strengthen policy coordination, ensure food and energy security, and maintain a sustained, stable, and healthy growth of the world economy, so as to lay an economic foundation for sustainable development. We must continue to adhere to a holistic and balanced approach to development, promote coordinated economic and social advancement, ensure harmony between man and nature, and effectively address the questions of funding, technology, and other means of implementation. The developed countries, in particular, must take concrete actions to provide new and additional financial assistance, reduce and cancel debt, curb trade protectionism, open market and transfer technology to the developing countries. The United Nations should continue to play a leading role in sustainable development and promote the implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Item 49 (b): Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States

The development of SIDS is an important link in the global sustainable development. Due to historical and geographical reasons, they encounter special difficulties in achieving sustainable development. The international community should keep this firmly in mind, fully understand and pay attention to the special concerns of these countries and, in the light of their characteristics and actual needs, strengthen cooperation with them, and effectively implement the Mauritius Strategy. Commitments in financial assistance and technological transfer must be honored so as to enhance the capacity-building of SIDS and help them achieve sustainable development.

As a developing country with a large population, China fully understands the difficulties encountered by SIDS. Over the years, the Chinese government has continuously deepened and broadened its cooperation with SIDS and provided them with assistance to the best of its ability. We stand ready to further enhance international cooperation and continue to work with SIDS in promoting global sustainable development.

Item 49 (c): International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

In recent years, there have been frequent occurrences of major disasters across the globe, seriously jeopardizing people’s lives and property and disrupting their daily lives. As a major strategic issue in economic and social development, disaster reduction must be given priority attention by all countries. In this age of globalization, preventing and responding to natural disasters require enhanced international and regional cooperation. The UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction have done a great deal of work in establishing the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and promoting the international cooperation in disaster reduction, for which we would like to express our appreciation. We believe that the international community should continue to improve the disaster reduction and humanitarian relief cooperation mechanism with the UN at its core, enhance natural disaster monitoring and early warning, strengthen developing countries' capacity in disaster prevention, preparedness and reduction, ensure long-term, stable and predictable core funding for disaster reduction, and increase support for the Central Emergency Response Fund.

A major earthquake shook Wenchuan in China's Sichuan Province this May, resulting in tremendous losses of life and property. The international community provided timely and generous emergency humanitarian relief and post-disaster reconstruction funds. The Chinese delegation would like to avail itself of this opportunity to express its sincere gratitude. China's cooperation with other countries in disaster reduction will develop further in depth and be more fruitful.

Item 49 (d): Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind

Climate change is, in the final analysis, a development issue and should be addressed in an integrated manner within the framework of sustainable development. With the current difficulties in the international economic situation, tackling climate change has become a more complex challenge. Members of the international community should join hands in responding to the current economic difficulties; at the same time, we must not slacken our efforts to tackle the problem of climate change.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol constitute the basic international legal framework in addressing climate change and an important basis for international cooperation in this regard. The international community must continue to take the Convention and its protocol as the main channels for international cooperation and negotiations and, in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", implement the Bali Road Map in a balanced manner.

Out of a sense of responsibility to the Chinese people as well as the people of the world, the Chinese government attaches great importance to climate change. We have made the building of an ecological civilization a strategic task, focusing on our basic national policy of resource-conservation and environmental protection and striving to build industrial structures and patterns of growth and consumption that are energy-conservative and environment friendly. We have formulated China's National Climate Change Programme, established the National Leading Group to Address Climate Change, enacted a series of laws and regulations, adopted a series of measures to conserve energy, optimize energy structure, raise energy efficiency, and plant trees to increase afforestation. These measures have led to remarkable results. From 1990 to 2005, through economy restructuring and energy efficiency improvements, China saved an accumulated 800 million tons of coal equivalent (tce) of energy, which is equivalent to a reduction of 18 trillion tons of CO2 emissions. In 2007, China's per unit GDP energy consumption decreased by 3.27%, 89.8 million tons of tce were saved, and, for the first time, the total volumes of emissions of SO2 and COD both declined by 4.66% and 3.14% respectively. Recently, the Chinese government, while maintaining stable and relatively fast economic growth in spite of the pressure of inflation, continued to close large numbers of small thermal power plants and energy-intensive enterprises and used economic leverage to conserve energy and reduce emission by raising the price of refined oil and the electricity rates. Our goal is a 20% reduction in our per unit GDP energy consumption by 2010 from 2005, and a 10% reduction in the total discharge of main pollutants. China attaches equal importance to adapting to climate change and has been continuously strengthening its adaptation capabilities in agriculture, the natural ecological system and water resources. At the same time, we give priority attention to the prevention and reduction of disasters in an effort to reduce losses caused by extreme weather events and associated disasters.

The current international negotiations under the Bali Roadmap are at a critical stage. China supports reaching a fair, reasonable, and effective post-2012 agreement and supports the UN in playing its due role in this regard. China will, as always, actively participate in international cooperation on climate change and make its contributions to the protection of the global climate.

Item 49 (e): Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa

Desertification is a major environmental and social problem. The formulation of the UNCCD demonstrates the international community's attention to the problem of desertification and the consensus on the urgent need to address this problem. Since the Convention took effect more than ten years ago, some results have been achieved, but the trend of global desertification has not been effectively controlled and reversed. The 8th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP8) adopted the 10-year Strategic Plan and Framework to Enhance the Implementation of UNCCD, to which the Chinese government would like to express its welcome and support.

The Chinese government believes that for most developing countries, desertification is both a cause and a result of poverty. The international community, the developed countries in particular, should fully recognize the urgency of the problem of desertification, acknowledge the close link between desertification and poverty, effectively meet their obligations vis-a-vis funds and technological transfer, as stipulated in the Convention, advance the Convention process, support the efforts of the affected developing countries in combating desertification, help developing countries achieve sustainable development, and ensure comprehensive and effective implementation of the Convention.

Item 49 (g): Report of the Governing Council of UNEP on its tenth special session

The Chinese government supports strengthening international environmental governance. We believe that the first priority in this endeavor is the strengthening of developing countries' capacity building in environmental protection. At the same time, international environmental governance must be approached in an integrated manner within the framework of sustainable development to ensure the coordination and balance of the three pillars of economic growth, social development and environmental protection. The improvement of international environmental governance should be an incremental process that should be fully discussed and effectively advanced.

Thank you, Madam Chair.


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