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Statement by Mr. Wang Qun, Chinese Delegate at the UNGA Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature under Panel "Sharing National Experiences on Criteria and Indicators for Measuring Sustainable Development in Harmony with Nature"

2011-04-20 00:26

Mr. President,

Attaining sustainable development requires balanced development in economic, social and environmental areas. While the GDP is an indicator of important reference value for measuring a country’s level of development, it should not be viewed as the sole indicator of a country’s aggregate strength.

In March this year, the 11th National People’s Congress of China approved China’s 12th Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development (the 12th Five-year Plan). The focus of the 12th Five-year Plan is on accelerating the transformation of China’s mode of economic development, emphasizing social security and improvement of people’s livelihood, while advocating energy conservation and environmental protection. Under the Plan, the Chinese government has put forward a comprehensive array of targets for economic and social development for the next five years, including the following:

Achieve steady and reasonably fast economic development: GDP to grow by 7% annually; 45 million jobs to be created in urban areas; and urban registered unemployment rate to be kept at or below 5%;

Obtain remarkable results in resource conservation and environmental protection: water consumption per unit of value-added industrial output to be cut by 30%; non-fossil fuel to account for 11.4% of primary energy consumption; energy consumption per unit of GDP to be cut by 16%; carbon dioxide emission per unit of GDP to be cut by 17%; forest coverage rate to rise to 21.66% and forest stock to increase by 600 million cubic meters;

Continuously improve people’s livelihood: total population to be controlled within 1.39 billion; life expectancy to increase by one year; new rural pension schemes to cover all rural residents and basic urban pension schemes to cover 357 million urban residents; and 36 million housing units to be constructed for low-income families in urban areas;

Realize visible improvement in social development: basic public service delivery system to be improved and expanded to cover both urban and rural residents; the rights and interests of the people to be effectively safeguarded; the cultural industry to increase its share in the national economy; and the society to be more harmonious and stable.

The formulation of the 12th Five-year Plan attests fully to the importance the Chinese government attaches to the paradigm of coordinated economic, social and environmental development. While the Plan has set an estimated goal of 7% for economic growth indicators, it has refrained from making compulsory arrangements with a view to preventing growth rate related competition among different regions. On the other hand, for such binding indicators as social security, improving people’s livelihood, resource conservation and environmental protection, lines of responsibilities were clearly drawn to ensure compliance and attainment. For example, the compulsory goal of energy conservation and emission reduction is to be disaggregated down to each and every region and enterprise. During the 12th Five-year Plan period, the Chinese government is determined to intensify and improve work in this field, in a bid to fulfill commitments already undertaken.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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