Joint High-Level Symposium on 2030 Agenda Statement

Joint High-Level Symposium on 2030 Agenda Statement

30 May 2016, Linzhi Municipality, Tibet Autonomous Region

By Mr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda


1. Honourable Mr Luosang Jiangcun, Chairman of the Government of Tibet Autonomous Region; Honorable Mr Dear Zhang Jun, Director-General, Department of International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr Percy W Misika, the UN Resident Coordinator Ad Interim in China; Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Colleagues from the United Nations, Ladies and Gentlemen: A very good morning to all of you.

2. I would like to thank the Municipality of Linzhi, the Government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China for all they have done to make this Joint Symposium possible. I thank Chairman Luosang Jiangcun for his four key messages on directions for sustainable development of peoples in the Tibet Autonomous Region.  This was an important and impressive presentation.

3. Building on the statement from UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon I have five messages to convey at the start of this symposium.

I There are important connections between Chinese Development Strategy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

4. This first major event in China for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations System.  There are clear synergies between the 2030 Agenda in September 2015 and China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

5. China has identified its implementation approach to be one that is “equitable, open, all-round and innovative”.

6. World leaders agreed that the 2030 Agenda applies universally to all nations, is interconnected and indivisible, must leave no-one behind, needs integrated and holistic responses and should be implemented through multiple stakeholders working together.

7. A major connection between China’s five year plan and the 2030 Agenda is the need for innovations in several areas: in analyses that reflect the indivisibility of the agenda, in alignment of functions across government, in action approaches - including through development of new technologies, in acceleration and scaling up, and in accounting for progress.  These are big tasks, but your experience, expertise and imagination will help both China and the world to succeed.

II China has obtained much valuable experience through work in relation to the Millennium Development Goals.

8. China’s MDG implementation experience will be discussed throughout the seminar: at this point I would like to emphasize that there has been remarkable and tangible progress in achieving most of the MDGs on time or even ahead of time.

9. This includes reducing the number of poor people in China by 439 million between 1990 and 2015; achieving universal education with 99.8% enrolment rate of primary-school-age children by 2014; and improving schooling conditions in rural areas.

III China has already identified effective means for implementing the SDGs both within and beyond her borders.

10. The 13th Five-Year Plan (FYP) will guide China’s economic and social planning for 2016-2020: several priorities from within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are to be found within the 13th FYP - including eradication of poverty and hunger, inclusive economic growth, green industrialization, better social security and social services, safeguarding equity and justice, protecting the environment, addressing climate change, using resources efficiently, and improving governance at all levels.

11. China has a powerful international influence on development policies and practices.  South -South cooperation is the cornerstone of China’s international development agenda: it is already helping other developing countries to implement the SDGs.

12. China is open about its experiences and has volunteered to participate in the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) that will review and follow-up national implementation of SDGs in July 2016.

IV Challenges that are faced with implementation of the SDGs in China have already been identified.

13. Following unprecedented economic progress over the past three decades, China has now entered a new and more complex stage of development (sometimes referred to as the “New Normal”).

14. Within China several stages of development are being addressed all at once – they include tackling growing inequity, environmental degradation, climate and disaster risks, demographic changes with a rapidly aging population, shrinking workforce, mass urbanization, and a mobile migrant population.

15. At the same time, economic growth is slowing, as China shifts to a less labor-intensive economy, seeks to invest in renewal of natural resources and contributes to the repair of global climate systems.

16. It is proving difficult to ensure equitable development of women and men in remote regions - such as Tibet – because of a combination of economic and environmental factors, and the underdevelopment of public services.

17. The Government is pursuing a comprehensive people-centred approach to reduce poverty and ensure that all people benefit from inter-sectoral synergy.

18. The challenge of urban-rural differentials is well appreciated with people in urban households on average earning 2.8 times as much as those in rural households. Then there are people being left behind: 277 million migrant workers live in the cities with limited social security and over 60 million children are living in rural areas without one or both parents.

V Some thoughts as we move ahead together

19. The broad, visionary and transformative 2030 Agenda needs ambitious, dedicated, integrated and coherent action for its implementation. This calls for the engagement of all institutions and sectors of society in ways that lead to the strengthening of capabilities especially at community level.

20. It calls for innovation in ways of thinking and working – shifting from vertical thinking and approaches restricted to individual sectors, to cross-sectoral implementation of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

21. It may also call for changes to administrative and institutional structures so that they are able to deal with the cross-cutting challenges of sustainable development without increasing levels of bureaucracy.

22. It means localizing goals and targets – maintaining their indivisibility but adapting them to national and sub-national circumstances.  It also means including all stakeholders in the development process. The people that will benefit from implementation of the SDGs need to be consulted about, and to own, development action. That means the involvement of enterprises and civil society organizations where possible.

A last word

23. Nations are aware that achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development involves investing in a range of innovations, in ways that engage government, business enterprises, academic groups and civil society organizations around the principles and substance of the 2030 Agenda.

24. Chinese people, institutions and government are innovating extensively as they advance efforts in the next 15 years – within different parts of China and beyond.

25. We anticipate that the people and leaders of all nations will be increasingly committed to successful implementation for the sake both of generations to come and planetary survival. It is important that experiences should be shared openly and widely so that all can benefit from the experiences of others.
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