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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the Hybrid Symposium “Sustainable Future through a Sci-fi Lens” in Celebration of the 2023 UN Chinese Language Day

2023-04-20 22:01

Honorable Mr. Liu Cixin,

Distinguished Guests, 

Greetings to everyone in the room and online.

It gives me great pleasure to attend the symposium “Sustainable Future through a Sci-fi lens”. I am most delighted that we have Mr. Liu Cixin with us today. As far as I know, Mr. Liu, you have lots of fans here from the UN Secretariat and the Permanent Mission of China to the UN. In other words, many people besides me are your fans. We are all looking forward to this opportunity to have a conversation with you. 

Speaking of science fictions, when I was little, I read Chinese sci-fi works such as “Little Smart Roaming the Future” and “Flying to Centaurus”, as well as foreign works such as “The Mysterious Island” and “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas”. For me, those stories were fascinating eye openers and left me feeling amazed and captivated. Looking back now, many of the fantasies described in these sci-fi novels have come true, and many of the problems depicted therein have become problems we are now facing in the real world. 

In his sci-fi works such as “The Wandering Earth” and “The Three-Body Problem”, Mr. Liu also tells the tales of major challenges threatening the survival of humanity. Tackling those challenges requires not just eureka moments of individuals, but also the collaborative effort of the entire humankind. Mr. Liu’s works embody the idea that all humans are in the same boat with a shared future and must therefore pull together to weather the storms. This positive note chimes in with the noble and sacred mission underpinning multilateral international cooperation. 

The United Nations is the most universal, representative, and authoritative intergovernmental organization in the world today, and has been working diligently and tirelessly for the peace and development of the world and the future of humanity. In 2015, the UN held the Sustainable Development Summit in New York, where 193 Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting out 17 Sustainable Development Goals and charting a roadmap for long-term human development. Next year, the UN will convene the Summit of the Future to discuss, forge consensus on, and advance cooperation for the peace, security, and well-being of the present and future generations and the development and progress of humanity. 

For centuries, the Chinese ethos has been defined by its global vision and profound care for the world. Through ancient Chinese classics, you will find reflections on the workings of nature and human society and insights on the changes throughout history. Inspired by the wisdom of traditional Chinese culture, and bearing in mind the shared interests of all peoples around the world, China proposed the vision of building a community with a shared future for humankind, thus offering a Chinese answer to the question of how humankind can strive for a better future. The Global Development Initiative is another contribution from China, which calls on the international community to work in synergy and effectively advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, leaving no one and no country behind, so that together we can achieve stronger, healthier, and more sustainable global development.

The year 2023 is halfway to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this momentous year, we chose “Chinese Wisdom for a Green World” as the theme of this year’s UN Chinese Language Day. We hope that by leveraging the power of Chinese, the most widely spoken language in the world, and the experience and wisdom it contains, we can contribute Chinese concepts and Chinese solutions to sustainable development. This symposium entitled “Sustainable Future through a Sci-fi Lens” is the first of a series of events to celebrate this year’s UN Chinese language Day. We hope the unique perspectives of science fictions, for example, looking back at the present from the future and viewing the Earth from space, can provide new insights and inject fresh impetus into humanity’s quest for a sustainable future. 

Mr. Liu Cixin wrote in “The Three-Body Problem” trilogy that we should “make time for civilization, for civilization won’t make time”. Sustainable development embodies the time-honored wisdom of human civilization and the international community’s common vision to achieve development that benefits all. It is the right path towards a sustainable future, and also a great enterprise involving all of us living today to make time for civilization. We hope today’s symposium can garner more support for the UN’s efforts towards sustainable development, and inspire more thinking about the future of humanity, so that all of us can pitch in with tangible actions to achieve the 17 SDGs that are intricately connected to our lives, and do what we can to achieve a sustainable future that we all share. 

Thank you.

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