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Statement by Mr. Wang Qun of the Chinese Delegation at the General Segment of the 2012 Substantive Session of the Economic and Social Council Under Agenda Item 13(a) "Sustainable Development"

2012-07-25 05:05

Mr. President,

To achieve sustainable development is an important and urgent task for all countries alike. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held last June is another major global event in the area of sustainable development after the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. At a time when the world economy and the international development cooperation are experiencing difficulties, the UNCSD has sent a positive, clear and powerful message about the revitalization of international cooperation for sustainable development, and injected new vitality into the global sustainable development process. In particular, thanks to the concerted efforts of all attending, the Conference has produced a comprehensive, positive and largely balanced outcome document, fully demonstrating the spirit of the international community to proceed from the common interest of humankind and the well-being of future generations, and overcome its differences through cooperation. The Conference has reiterated the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" and thus safeguarded the basis and framework of international development cooperation. The Conference has decided to launch a process to discuss the sustainable development goals so as to send an important, positive signal about the strengthening of international cooperation for sustainable development and provide guidance to the formulation of international development agenda beyond 2015.

It is now high time for the international community to uphold the Rio spirit and principles, especially the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility", and work together to implement the positive outcome of the UNCSD. China believes that in the next stage, the international community may focus on the following areas:

First of all, with regard to sustainable development goals, it is necessary to identify, in the priority areas of sustainable development, multiple sets of flexible, non-mandatory targets which can serve as useful references to states in developing national development strategies tailored to the specificities of each nation. At the same time, attention must be paid to the relationship between SDGs and MDGs. SDGs should complement, rather than undermine or replace, MDGs.

Secondly, concerning the institutional framework for sustainable development, the intergovernmental high-level political forum should cover all three pillars of sustainable development, namely economic growth, social progress and environmental protection, and give developing countries greater representation and decision making power. The forum should focus on financial assistance, technology transfer and capacity building so as to facilitate the sustainable development process of developing countries, especially least developed countries, small island developing states and African countries.

Thirdly, in the transition towards a green economy, due respect must be given to national conditions, and the undiscerning application of rigid standards and targets should be avoided. As one of the important means to achieving sustainable development, green economy should first and foremost contribute to poverty eradication. The international community should create favourable external conditions for the transition of developing countries towards a green economy, and guard against "green barrier" and "green protectionism".

China has all along participated in the Rio+20 process in an active and constructive manner, and has contributed its wisdom and hard work to the success of the Conference. During the Summit, Premier Wen Jiabao announced a series of concrete measures and initiatives with the view to helping developing countries achieve sustainable development. China is a developing country with a huge population and a fragile eco-system, and many challenges remain ahead in our own quest for sustainable development. In the process of implementing the UNCSD outcome, China will further promote the concept of green, low-carbon development, focus on energy efficiency and emission reduction, develop resource-efficient and environment-friendly patterns of production and consumption, and enhance our capacity of sustainable development. In an open and pragmatic spirit, China stands ready to participate in the relevant follow-up processes of UNCSD, continue to enhance exchange and cooperation with all parties in the implementation of the outcome of the Conference, translate the outcome into concrete actions, and make unremitting efforts to promote the global cause of sustainable development.

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