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Interview: Senior UN official praises China for making great efforts in carrying out global development goals

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-09-15 01:34

A senior UN official lauded China's great efforts to carry out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), voicing his belief that "China can also set an example on how to advance on the various SDGs in a balanced and integrated manner."

Wu Hongbo, the UN under-secretary-general for the economic and social affairs, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that "China has made great efforts in implementation, linking the 2030 Agenda with domestic mid-and-long-term development strategies."

The 2030 Agenda, including its 17 SDGs, is a top priority for the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, which opened here Tuesday in a universal push for its timely and efficient implementation.

The Agenda, approved by world leaders in September 2015, serves as the blueprint for the global development efforts for the years leading up to 2030.

This year marks the beginning of the global efforts to implement the SDGs, Wu noted. "At present, we are at a very early stage on the implementation of the SDGs."

Despite this, China was one of 22 volunteering countries that presented the first national reviews at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July, he said, referring to the UN event to share experiences among member states on the SDGs implementation. "Being among the very first countries to present such a national review shows a commendable effort, and demonstrates a strong commitment to the new Agenda."

"China has made great efforts in implementation, linking the 2030 Agenda with domestic mid-and-long term development strategies," he said. "A domestic coordination mechanism for the implementation has been established to guarantee the implementation."

"Great efforts has been made to publicize the 2030 Agenda nationwide in order to mobilize domestic resources, raise public awareness, and creating favourable social environment for the implementation," he said.

For instance, China's 13th Five-Year Plan, which defines the development concept featuring innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, was reviewed and approved in March 2016, he noted.

The government has already released the Position Paper on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which reflects China's views on the principles, priorities, policies and progress made in the implementation of the 2030 agenda.

"China will also issue its national plan of implementing the 2030 Agenda this year and share its development experience with other countries," he said.

"I greatly appreciate China's strong support for the United Nations and for its unwavering commitment to multilateralism," Wu said. "China was instrumental in reaching the agreement on the SDGs and its leadership has been essential to bringing us to where we are today."

"As one of the leading world economies, China will remain as an example of success in combating poverty at home and promoting inclusive growth," he said. "It can also set an example on how to advance on the various SDGs in a balanced and integrated manner."

"At the international level, the UN also counts on China, as a partner, to help other developing countries implement this Agenda," he said. "I hope China will continue to support capacity building and technology facilitation, mobilize international financial resources, aid and trade to help implement the SDGs abroad."

Meanwhile, the senior UN official also spoke highly of the crucial role of China's Belt and Road Initiative in promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

"The implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs depend critically on the concrete actions taken at global, regional, national and sub-national levels," he said. "We need to bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and other actors, mobilizing all available resources."

"In particular, we need to strengthen all forms of international cooperation for sustainable development," he said. "In this regard, the Belt and Road Initiative, as a large-scale regional cooperation for development, can play an important role in making great contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda."

China launched in late 2013 the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, collectively known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Belt and Road run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, he said, adding that some 65 countries are along the Belt and Road, accounting for about 60 percent of the world population, 30 percent of the world gross product, 40 percent of the world trade, and more than 50 percent of the global population under the extreme poverty line.

"The essential spirit of the Belt and Road to promote win-win cooperation, common development and prosperity, peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, and mutual understanding and trust, conforms to the basic values of the 2030 Agenda," he said.

The five priority areas for cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, namely, policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond, have inextricable links to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, facilities connectivity, including infrastructure investment, can play a crucial role in achieving the first Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty, he said, adding that infrastructure investment can improve economic productivity, boost economic growth, and increase employment and earnings for the poor people.

"Indeed, jointly building the Belt and Road is to push forward the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, not only for the countries along the Belt and Road, but also for the rest of the world," Wu said.

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