The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held in September 2015 laid out common visions of the world to seek win-win cooperation and development of all. The Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides guidance to national development and international development cooperation in the next 15 years, marking a milestone in global development process.
Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the joint task of all countries. While facing with sluggish world economic recovery, widening development gap between the North and the South, dwindling momentum in international development cooperation, the international community is also confronted with challenges like refugee crisis, terrorism, public health threats and the climate change. All countries should work together to translate leaders’ commitments to concrete actions by implementing the 2030 Agenda. Development could serve as means to address various global challenges, speed up economic transformation and upgrading, map out the course of equitable, open, all-round, innovation-driven and sustainable development and advance the well-being of mankind.
I. General Principles
-Principle of Peaceful Development. Countries should safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter through commitment to peaceful coexistence, build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and foster peaceful, stable and harmonious regional and international environment enabling for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
-Principle of Win-win Cooperation. Governments, private sectors, civil society and international organizations should foster a sense of community of shared interests and establish all-round partnership in playing respective role in global development cooperation. Countries should jointly participate in global development progress and development rules making, share development gains on an equal footing.
-Principle of Integration and Coordination. It is essential to make development serve the people and put people first. Countries should give priority to poverty eradication and people’s livelihood, safeguard social equity and justice and firmly implement the concept of sustainable development, so as to achieve economic, social and environmental development in a balanced way, as well as harmony between individuals and the society and between man and nature.
-Principle of Inclusiveness and Openness. Countries should commit to achieving inclusive economic growth and building an inclusive society, where development gains are shared by all and no one is left behind. Concerted efforts should be made to build an open world economy and increase the representation and voice of developing countries in global economic governance.
-Principle of Sovereignty and Voluntary Action. Reaffirming that every country has full sovereignty over its own economic development and implementation of the 2030 Agenda, countries should be encouraged to formulate their domestic development strategies and take measures to implement the 2030 Agenda in accordance with their national conditions and respective characteristics. It is important to respect every country’s choice for development path and draw on experience of each other.
-Principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities”. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a common objective, while the means of implementation should be allowed to be differentiated, due to diversified national conditions and respective capabilities, so that all countries would be able to make their own contributions to the global implementation.
II. Key Areas and Priorities
-Eradicate Poverty and Hunger. Poverty is a primary challenge to the international community and a major threat to sustainable development. Poverty eradication should be at a prominent position of national development strategy, and targeted measures should be taken to alleviate and eliminate poverty. Significant efforts should also be made to enhance agricultural production capacities and food security, laying a solid foundation for poverty eradication.
-Maintain Economic Growth. Economic growth is the fundamental way to eradicate poverty and improve people’s livelihood. Countries should formulate economic policies suited to their national conditions, promote economic restructuring and upgrading and change unsustainable consumption and production patterns. It is important to implement innovation-driven development strategies, strengthen technological innovation and upgrading, and generate momentum for sustainable, healthy and stable economic growth.
-Advance Industrialization. It is important to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, to inject impetus to coordinated development between urban and rural areas and between the three dimensions of sustainable development. Advanced manufacturing and emerging industries should be developed along with upgrading the traditional industries.
-Improve social security and social services. It is important to improve public service system, including employment, education and health care, and ensure equal access to basic public services. Governments should pursue a more proactive employment policy, provide policy assistance for new businesses and encourage job creation by business start-ups. It is also essential to guarantee the right to education for all, including the vulnerable groups, improve the quality of education and ensure that everyone has the opportunity for lifelong learning. Efforts should also be made to provide minimum social protection and expand the coverage of social security. Basic health care system should be established and improved to make basic medical and health services more equitable and accessible, which is vital to everyone’s dignity of life.
-Safeguard Equity and Justice. Improving people’s well-being and promoting all-round human development should be the starting point and objective of development. Countries should put people first, strive to eradicate inequality in opportunity, distribution sharing and institution building, and ensure that development gains are fairly shared by all. Efforts should also be made to advance gender equality, empower women in all aspects, and earnestly strengthen protection of the rights of vulnerable groups including women, minors and the disabled.
-Protect the Environment. Public awareness should be raised concerning ecological conservation featuring respect for, conformity with and protection of nature. It is imperative to step up environmental protection efforts, promote comprehensive prevention and control of air, water and soil pollution, focus on improving environmental quality, and form a system of integrated environmental governance by governments, enterprises and public sector. Efforts should be made to strengthen the protection and recovery of natural ecological system, preserve biological diversity, promote sustainable management of forests, protect the marine environment and build protective barriers for eco-security.
-Address Climate Change. The international community should address climate change and build a global climate governance system that is fair, equitable and centered on win-win cooperation in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities. Countries should integrate addressing the climate change into their national development strategies, attach equal importance to mitigation and adaptation, increase capabilities of accommodation to the climate change and strengthen multilateral and bilateral dialogue and cooperation on the climate change.
-Efficient Utilization of Resources. It is important to promote energy conservation, develop energy saving technologies and products, establish effective mechanisms to improve resource efficiency. A modernized energy system that is clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient should be established to promote sustainable energy. Efforts should also be made to develop circular economy, cultivate awareness of green consumption and promote the lifestyle of thrift. Countries should promote water conservation through rainwater and flood utilization, water reuse and seawater desalination.
-Improve National Governance. Countries should advance the law-based governance, bring economic and social development in line with the rule of law and advance the modernization of governance system and capability. It is imperative to innovate the concept of governance, strengthen the awareness of rule of law and sense of service, improve the way of governance through taking full advantage of modern technologies. Efforts should be made to build a social governance system by the people and for the people.
III. Means of Implementation
-Strengthen Capacity Building. The national government should take primary responsibility for its development. It is important to align national development strategies with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, making them mutually reinforcing. Countries should formulate development-oriented policies, improve institution building, increase public resources, accelerate technological innovation, encourage participation of all sectors in development and generate internal growth momentum. The United Nations and its specialized agencies should help the member states improve their capabilities to implement the 2030 Agenda.
-Create An Enabling International Environment for Development. Countries should pursue peaceful development and work together to maintain regional stability and world peace and security. It is important for all countries to promote a balanced, win-win and inclusive multilateral trading system and form a fair, reasonable and transparent system of international economic and trading rules, and promote rational flow of production factors, efficient allocation of resources and deep integration of markets. Efforts should also be made to improve global economic governance, support equal participation of developing countries and increase their representation and voice, as well as their full participation in the global supply chain, industry chain and value chain.
-Strengthen Development Partnership. The international community should work towards a more equitable and balanced global partnership for development and maintain North-South cooperation as the main channel for development cooperation. Developed countries should honor their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments in a timely and adequate manner, scale up their support in terms of capital, technology and capacity building for developing countries, especially African countries, the least developed countries and small-island developing countries. It is important to give full play to technology promotion mechanism, promote technology development of developing countries and the transfer, spread and promotion of environment-friendly technology to developing countries. The international community should also strengthen South-South cooperation, increase triangular cooperation, and encourage the private sector, civil society, philanthropic groups and other stakeholders to play bigger role. Efforts should be made to strengthen infrastructure connectivity and international cooperation in industrial capacity to achieve complementarity among countries.
-Promote Coordination Mechanism. Development policy should be incorporated into global macroeconomic policy coordination to make international economic, financial, trade and investment policies serve development and to ensure developing countries’ extensive engagement in the global economic governance and their fair share of development gains. Efforts should be made to accelerate regional integration and enhance comprehensive regional competitiveness. The role of the United Nations in policy guidance and coordination should be strengthened, and the UN development system, specialized agencies, funds and programs should enhance development resources and use their own advantages to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and advance international development cooperation according to their authorization. G20 members are encouraged to formulate a meaningful and executable collective action plan for implementation of the 2030 Agenda, so as to play a leading role in the implementation and complement to the UN process.
-Improve Follow-up and Review. The UN High-Level Political Forum should play a key role in the follow-up and review, and conduct regular reviews of global implementation progress. It will be imperative to strengthen the monitoring of the means of implementation at the international level, comprehensively review the development financing, technology transfer and capacity building with a focus on the ODA commitments. Regional cooperation should be encouraged, as well as participation by regional and subregional commissions and organizations. National reviews should be conducted within the national policy framework and maintain its flexibility so that the review of national implementation would be done according to respective national conditions and the principle of voluntary action. The formulation of SDGs indicator framework should adhere to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and efforts should be made to strengthen statistical capacity building in developing countries and improve the quality and timeliness of statistical data.
IV. China’s Way Forward
As the largest developing country in the world, China has always given top priority to development. In the coming years, China will seek coordinated development in the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fields guided by the development concept featuring innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, in order to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects in due time. China will pursue innovative development by adopting an innovation-driven strategy and improving the quality and efficiency of development. Coordinated development could be achieved through regional cooperation, urban and rural integration, parallel development of material wealth and spiritual enrichment and integration of economic development with national defense, which will form a balanced structure of development. China will pursue green development by promoting a green and low-carbon development model and lifestyle, actively addressing the climate change and protecting ecological system. China will make great efforts to deepen opening-up and promote strategic mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation, and people to people exchange, thus realizing win-win cooperation. Shared development should be pursued by highlighting equal opportunity, ensuring basic livelihood and improving people’s well being.
China attaches great importance to the 2030 Agenda and has made great efforts to its implementation. The 13th Five-Year Plan was reviewed and approved by the Fourth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress this March, linking the 2030 Agenda with domestic mid-and-long term development strategies. Great efforts will be made to publicize the agenda nationwide in order to mobilize domestic resources and raise public awareness, creating favorable social environment for the implementation. China will strengthen inter-sector policy coordination, review and revise relevant laws and regulations to provide policy and legislative guarantee for the implementation. The domestic coordination mechanism for the implementation comprised of 43 government departments has been established. China is determined to lift all the 55.75 million rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty in the next five years, which will mark a significant step towards and early harvest of China’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
China will remain open and inclusive and strengthen coordination with all parties to jointly accelerate the global implementation. China will formulate national plans for implementation of the 2030 Agenda and release it in due course. China will take part in the High-level Thematic Debate on achieving the SDGs this April and also the voluntary national review in the High-level Political Forum in July to report China’s implementation progress, exchange development experience with and listen to constructive opinions and suggestions of others.
As the G20 President this year, China lists promoting inclusive and interconnected development as one of the four key agenda items, which will focus on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is the first time to comprehensively integrate development issues into the global macroeconomic policy coordination framework at the summit level and enhance development issues to a prominent position. Together with other G20 members, China will optimize development policy coordination among G20 members and incorporate the 2030 Agenda with other G20 working group’s agenda. China is urging G20 members to jointly draft a collective Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda, for aligning domestic implementation work with the global process. In addition, China set a new G20 agenda issue called industrialization of Africa and other least developed countries, and urges G20 to actively respond to demands of developing countries, especially African countries. China will keep close collaboration with the UN to integrate the G20 implementation process with the UN-led process. China will also convene outreach dialogues with non-G20 countries, especially developing countries, to ensure that G20’s actions meet outside expectations. China looks forward to the political driving force and strong guarantee for the implementation of the agenda to be generated through collective actions of major economies.
China will continue to actively take part in global development cooperation and make contributions to the best of its capability. China has provided support for more than 120 developing countries while achieving MDGs. In the future, China will deepen South-South cooperation to help other developing countries to implement the 2030 Agenda. China will implement the measures announced by President Xi Jinping during his attendance at Summits Marking the 70th Anniversary of the UN, provide other developing countries with support in financing, technology and capacity building and offer more public goods for the global development cause. China is making preparations for the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation, which will be put into operation as soon as possible. The Academy of South-South Cooperation and Development will be officially established and start global enrollment in 2016. The academy will provide developing countries with opportunities for doctor’s degree and master’s degree education and short-term training, will serve as a platform for exchanging and sharing development experience. China has signed agreements on China-UN Peace and Development Fund with the UN and will put it into operation in 2016 to raise funds for projects concerning peace and development. China will continue to carry forward the Belt and Road Initiative and promote the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank to play greater roles, thus making due contribution to global development.
Looking into the future, China will remain committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and following the road of mutual benefit, win-win cooperation and common development. China stands ready to work with other countries to contribute to the construction of a community of shared destiny and make unremitting efforts for realization of the dreams of people across the world.