Opening Remarks: Joint High-level Symposium on 2030 Agenda

Opening Remarks: Joint High-level Symposium on 2030 Agenda

30 May 2016, Linzhi Municipality, Tibet Autonomous Region

Delivered by the UN Resident Coordinator a.i., Mr. Percy Misika



Mr. Luosang Jiangcun (Lobsang Gyaltsen), Chairman of the Government of Tibet Autonomous Region,

Mr. David Nabarro, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Mr. Zhang Jun, Director General of Department of International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to all of you!

On behalf of the UN Country Team in China, I would like to welcome you all to this High-level Symposium on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are pleased that you can be here with us.

We as the UN family in China would first like to express our appreciation to the Chinese government, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for taking the initiative to co-organize this Symposium and for its support throughout the months of preparation. We are heartened to see the fruits of our close partnership today.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a universal and ambitious Agenda that seeks to build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals and to fill in the gaps where the Goals did not achieve their targets so as to ensure that no one will be left behind. In committing to the 2030 Agenda, countries all over the world will set out to achieve sustainable development by eradicating poverty and hunger; combatting inequalities; creating peaceful, just and inclusive societies; promoting gender equality; and ensuring the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources, over the course of the next 15 years.

Yet, we must brace ourselves for the fact that meeting all the targets will be a challenging task. As this Agenda is of an unprecedented scope, we will need to work closer and harder than ever before to create a better world for all of us. Furthermore, the realities of the world are such that we face many obstacles to sustainable development at present. For one, climate change is an immense issue that affects the global community in terms of rising sea levels, natural resource depletion and increasing temperatures, which unfortunately impacts many least developed countries and small island developing states disproportionately.

However, we at the UN also view this period as a golden era of opportunity. We are heartened that by the end of 2015, global poverty and hunger has been cut by half since the beginning of the century. More children are spared death from preventable diseases, and more women survive pregnancy and childbirth. Advancements in technology and scientific innovation provide us with tools to address development issues with new methods and ideas. Hence, we saw the need to gather experts and stakeholders today to brainstorm and discover how best to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both here in China and globally. We have identified three areas that are key to its successful implementation, namely: how to achieve early harvest and the means to realize it; how to integrate the implementation of the Agenda with domestic development strategies and among different SDGs; and how to provide impetus for the implementation of the Agenda through innovation. We look forward to your fruitful deliberations on these crucial points and we are confident that they will lead to scalable and applicable policies, strategies and programmes.

It is commendable that the Chinese government has shown proactive and timely initiative in advancing international development. The 13th Five-Year Plan that will guide Chinese national policies for the next half decade has integrated the 2030 Agenda with its domestic and international policies. From the very outset, the five development concepts of the 13th FYP: innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing are aligned with the core fundamentals of the 2030 Agenda. By committing to specific targets such as lifting all poor out of poverty and implementing strict reduction goals for various pollutants, China has shown that it is indeed committed to following up on its promises. China has already demonstrated its remarkable ability to lift millions out of poverty, eliminate hunger and achieve universal primary education during the period of the Millennium Development Goals. Most recently, during the Paris Climate Change negotiations, China also spearheaded tireless efforts to build the much needed consensus in working towards a historic agreement. That kind of political momentum will be needed for all of us to work past global divisions and unite to “leave no one behind”.

As we now move on to the next stage to promote fair, inclusive and sustainable development for all, the UN System in China looks forward to the key role that China can play towards the comprehensive achievement of the 2030 Agenda. To this end, the UN Country Team in China stands ready to support China in its noble endeavors.
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