Work Together to Open Up New Prospects for International Development Cooperation Actions
Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China at the Second Voluntary National Review on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
14 July 2021
On behalf of the Chinese government, I hereby present China’s review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and explore with you ways to advance international development cooperation and promote global sustainable development.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, we have adhered to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects on a land of 9.6 million square kilometers, and are now marching toward the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects.
The 2030 Agenda is a grand blueprint for national development and for international development cooperation. China follows a new development philosophy featuring innovative, coordinated, green, and open development for all. It is highly consistent with the 2030 Agenda’s five critical dimensions of people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. It is an effort to contribute China’s wisdom and Chinese solution to the cause of global development. Our main development efforts and achievements are as follows:
First, we always take development as our first priority. Development is the golden key to the door toward prosperity. China always focuses on seeking development. It has become the only country that has moved from the low human development category to the high human development category. Its economic output has exceeded 100 trillion yuan. China now ranks 14th in the Global Innovation Index, with scientific and technological advances contributing to over 60 percent of its economic growth. China is the only major economy registering positive growth during the pandemic, making significant contribution to global economic recovery.
Second, we adopt a people-centered philosophy. People’s aspiration for a better life is the goal of all our efforts. For the first time in history, we eliminated absolute poverty in China, accounting for over 70 percent of global poverty reduction. And not a single person of the 98.99 million impoverished population was left behind. We have launched an effective response to COVID-19. And not a single patient, from a new-born baby just 30 hours after birth to a 108-year-old senior citizen, was left untreated. We have put in place the world’s largest social security network and compulsory education system. The average life expectancy in China has reached 77.4 years. In the past five years, an additional 60 million people have found new jobs in urban areas. Hundreds of millions of people are joining the middle-income group. People’s sense of happiness, fulfillment and security keeps increasing.
Third, we always put into practice our belief in the harmony between man and Nature. A sound eco-environment benefits all. Green and low-carbon development is the most sustainable growth driver. China is committed to fostering a community of life for man and Nature, and always puts its words into actions. We have coordinated the management of mountains, rivers, forests as well as farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts, and contributed to one-fourth of the increase in global afforestation and one-fifth of the net restored land. Giant pandas, China’s national treasure, are no longer in an “endangered” status, and its wild population has grown to over 1,800. China has actively implemented the Paris Agreement, improved its industrial structure and energy mix, and embarked on a path of green, low-carbon and circular development. In 2020, China’s carbon intensity dropped by 48.4 percent over the 2005 level. Clean energy takes up 24.3 percent of China’s energy consumption. China accounts for more than 30 percent of the world’s total installed capacity of wind and photovoltaic power, and 55 percent of global new energy vehicle sales.
Fourth, we embrace the trend of openness and win-win cooperation of our times. Ocean is vast because it refuses no river. Riding the tide in the ocean of world economy, China has made the biggest contribution to global growth for 15 consecutive years. In 2020, China’s total import and export of goods exceeded 32 trillion yuan, and its outward investment surpassed 130 billion US dollars, sending a beam of light through the clouds of the world economy. China and its 140-plus partner countries under the Belt and Road cooperation have grown their trade to over 9.2 trillion US dollars, and established the largest cooperation platform in the world. Despite the pandemic, the China-Europe Railway Express is still in active service. The development of green Silk Road and digital Silk Road is gaining momentum, and injecting fresh and powerful impetus for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Fifth, we pursue common development with all countries. Our belief in “strengthening ourselves so as to help other people and the world” is deeply rooted in the DNA of the Chinese nation. On the path toward sustainable development, China has always forged ahead with other developing countries in the spirit of solidarity. China is committed to deepening South-South cooperation, and has provided development aid to over 160 developing countries. In the face of COVID-19, we have carried out the largest global humanitarian operation since the founding of New China, providing over 290 billion masks, 3.5 billion protective suits and 4.5 billion testing kits to the world. Honoring our pledge to make Chinese vaccines a global public good, we have provided over 500 million doses of vaccines to more than 100 countries and international organizations and made an important contribution to global vaccination.
Countries around the world are under the severe impact of the pandemic, and the international development cause faces unprecedented challenges. According to The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021 released by the UN, the number of people living in poverty went up by 120 million in 2020, indicators on hunger elimination and increasing education and employment are beginning to go downward, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda has come under great strain. At this critical juncture, we must join hands, act with a stronger sense of responsibility, and take more concrete steps to inject fresh momentum into the global development process.
We need to prioritize development, and be the practitioner of the Sustainable Development Goals. The rights to subsistence and development are basic human rights. Amid this unprecedented pandemic, we need to put our people front and center, and take development as the fundamental way to respond to the pandemic and humanitarian crises. We need to give full play to the UN’s coordinating role, and put development high on the global macro policy agenda. We need to align the 2030 Agenda with our national development strategies to achieve higher-quality and more sustainable development. Recently, China and African countries jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s development. We welcome all parties to join the Initiative.
We need to respect each other’s development paths, and be the defender of a fair and just international order. No development path or system is superior to others. The key is whether such a path and system fit a country’s national conditions, and whether they can advance people’s well-being. No country has the right to interfere in other countries’ development paths. We need to embrace the vision of mankind living in a community with a shared future, uphold the common values of humanity of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and pursue joint progress in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual learning. We need to practice true multilateralism, safeguard the international system centered on the UN and the international order based on international law, and seek common prosperity through equal-footed and mutually beneficial cooperation.
We need to foster a development environment of inclusiveness and coordination, and be the builder of an open world economy. All peoples are entitled to pursue a happy life. A beggar-thy-neighbor approach or a me-first mentality would only tie one down in senseless attrition and lead to no progress at all. We must rise above small exclusive clubs, and let our economies flow uninterrupted like waters in a river, and make sure the benefits of development reach people in all countries. We need to stay connected, safeguard the multilateral trading system with the WTO as its cornerstone, and keep global industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded. China is ready to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with all partners, advance economic integration, interconnected development and shared benefits across the world, and forge a powerful synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
We need to highlight innovation-driven growth, and be a pioneer in high-quality development. As the tide of the new industrial revolution surges forward, we should embrace the trend of innovation, and look for new growth drivers and pathways to development. We should pursue green and low-carbon development to give a strong pillar for post-COVID economic recovery. We need to strike a proper balance between fairness and efficiency, between capital and labor, and between technology and employment, so as to avoid new development divide.
We need to jointly tackle global challenges, and be a contributor to a bright future for humanity. The virus is still mutating, and the pandemic drags on and rebounds. We need to further deepen international cooperation on pandemic response, increase vaccine accessibility and affordability, and oppose vaccine nationalism. Our response to climate change bears on the future of the human race. We need to respect Nature, follow its laws and protect it. We need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and fully implement the Paris Agreement. As COVID-19 is worsening global food shortages, the international community needs to deepen cooperation on food security and help developing countries overcome their food challenge. China will fully support a successful UN Food Systems Summit, which will be a solid step toward the goal of zero hunger.
Long and difficult as the journey may be, we will reach the destination if we keep pressing ahead. Pursuing sustainable development is an endless process. Let us join hands together to deepen the global development partnership, open up new prospects in international development cooperation, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.