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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Side Meeting on the Right to Development: Key to the Achievement of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

2019-10-25 10:08

Colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

First of all, on behalf of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, I would like to welcome all of you to the side meeting on the right to development jointly hosted by the Permanent Mission of China and the China Society for Human Rights Studies.

Development is the eternal theme of human society. The UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international human rights instruments all regard poverty eradication and development as basic human rights. The UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which confirms that the right to development is an inalienable human right, plays an important role in promoting the development and progress of the human society.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development solemnly declares the goal of eradicating poverty in all its forms throughout the world and leaving no one behind. In today's world, however, unbalanced and inadequate development is still a serious problem. 783 million people still live below the international poverty line, and more than 11% of the world population is living in absolute poverty. Unilateralism, protectionism and acts of bullying are on the rise, seriously impairing international development cooperation and casting a shadow over all countries' efforts to pursue development and promote human rights.

Faced with such complex situation, the international community should strengthen solidarity and coordination, seize development opportunities, cope with risks and challenges, strive for common development and prosperity, and forge ahead toward a bright future of human rights for all.

First, we need to attach great importance to the right to development and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The right to development is the primary basic human right and an important prerequisite for the realization and enjoyment of other human rights. Today, the world is facing a huge development deficit, which has become the biggest obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights by all the people, especially those in developing countries.

The international community should step up efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, prioritize poverty and hunger eradication and provide material basis and guarantee for the realization of other rights. Thanks to the joint efforts of China and the United Nations, the G20 Hangzhou Summit adopted the Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The international community should be encouraged to put development at the core of the global macro policy framework, correct the practice of ignoring, belittling or even denying the right to development, and work together to beat a path of sustainable development leading to economic prosperity, social progress and beautiful environment.

In the 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese government has always regarded development as its top priority for governing and rejuvenating the country. It has always regarded the right to live and develop as the fundamental basic human right, promoted the economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights of all the Chinese people in a coordinated way for their all around development, and scored remarkable achievements. On China's 9.6 million square kilometers of land, there is no fear of war or displacement, and 1.4 billion people are living a peaceful, free and happy life. This is the biggest human rights project and the best human rights practice. China has also put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. Guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit, the BRI serves to enhance practical cooperation in inter-connectivity and other areas so as to inject new impetus into and create new opportunities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by all countries.

Second, based on our national conditions, we must adopt a people centered development paradigm. There is no one-size-fits-all model of development in the world. All countries must find their own path in light of their national conditions. People are the ultimate beneficiaries of human rights. The path of development a country takes and the human rights situation in the country will ultimately be judged by its people, and measured by their sense of gain, happiness and security.

The international community must strictly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries, respect the social systems, development paths and the human rights protection models selected by the countries themselves, strengthen exchanges among nations, civilizations and religions, and promote mutual learning and harmonious coexistence. No country should interfere in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of human rights or impose its own path or values on others.

China is committed to promoting and protecting human rights in the process of development. It has always taken the well-being and interests of the people as its starting point and foothold, and has embarked on a path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics. We have provided adequate food and clothing for nearly 1.4 billion people, lifted 850 million people out of extreme poverty, provided employment for 770 million people, achieved full coverage of nine-year compulsory education, established the world's largest medical insurance system and social security system, and significantly improved enjoyment of human rights by the people. We are committed to the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation and eradication. Next year, we will lift all the rural poor out of poverty and achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We fully tapped the advantages of digital technology to advance the Internet Plus Poverty Alleviation Initiative. In 2018, the sales volume of state-level poverty-stricken counties on Alibaba e-commerce platform exceeded 63 billion yuan. By the end of 2018, the Ant Forest project had created more than 180,000 person-time green jobs. Facts have proven that the development path of human rights with Chinese characteristics is absolutely correct, and China's progress in the field of human rights has made major contributions to the cause of human rights in the world. Facts have also proven that this path conforms to China's national conditions, the will of the people and the call of the times. We will thus firmly follow this path.

Third, we need to deepen international development cooperation and create an enabling environment for developing countries. For developing countries to realize their right to development, a fair, just, reasonable and sound international environment is indispensable. More than ever before, the world needs multilateralism, a UN-centered international system and an international order based on international law.

The international community should firmly uphold multilateralism and the multilateral trading system, unequivocally oppose unilateralism and protectionism, and safeguard the development rights and space of developing countries. We should maintain North-South cooperation as the main channel of cooperation and urge developed countries to honor their ODA commitments. We should continue to promote reform of the global economic governance system, increase the representation and voice of developing countries, and be wary of certain countries' attempt to make a fuss over determining the status of developing countries in order to create more burdens and obstacles for the development of developing countries and deprive their right to achieve development.

China is always committed to concrete actions rather than empty talks. We sincerely help developing countries realize their right to development and has never attached any political strings to our assistance. In the past 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, China has provided 166 countries and international organizations with nearly 400 billion yuan in assistance, unconditionally canceled for 7 seven times the matured government interest-free loans owed by the HIPCs and LDCs, dispatched over 600,000 aid personnel to developing countries, 700 of whom have given their lives in helping the development of other countries. The Belt and Road Initiative has created more jobs, improved livelihood and promoted green development in a robust way. Since its opening, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway in Kenya has witnessed an average capacity usage rate of over 97.3%, 40% lower logistics cost, and over 70% Kenyan employees. The Development Sub-fund of the China-UN Peace and Development Fund established in 2015 has implemented 27 projects in 49 countries. The South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund has implemented more than 200 development cooperation projects in over 30 countries, making important contributions to the development of developing countries. This will be continued. Facing complex and volatile international economic situation, the Chinese economy has maintained overall stability, with the quality of development steadily improving, new potential and space unleashed and business environment getting better. We have full confidence in the future of the economy.

Dear colleagues, It is the sacred mission and responsibility of all governments to realize development and promote human rights. When it comes to human rights, there is no best, only better. We still have a long way to go before realizing the vision of human rights for all. China stands ready to join hands with other countries to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, jointly advance the international human rights cause and build a community of shared future for mankind.

In conclusion, I wish this meeting every success.

Thank you.

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