In China’s efforts to implement the UN 2030 Agenda, poverty eradication outcomes are significant
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the global action plan for people, the planet and prosperity. Sustainable development can be seen as the effort to create a better life for all humans.
On Sept 24-25 this year, heads of state and government will gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Four years into the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, countries have translated this shared vision into national development plans and strategies. The Chinese government integrated it into its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) and released China’s National Plan on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2016.
Guided by the five principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, China has worked vigorously to promote all-around economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress through the alignment of strategies, institutional guarantees, social mobilization, input of resources, risk management, international cooperation, oversight and review.
One of the most significant outcomes in China’s efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda is poverty eradication. By 2015, more than 700 million people had been lifted out of extreme poverty in China. A few weeks after the 2030 Agenda was officially unveiled, at the 2015 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum in Beijing, President Xi Jinping vowed to lift all the remaining 70 million impoverished people out of poverty by 2020.
By the end of 2018, more than half of the 832 poverty-stricken counties had shaken off poverty. What’s more, over 6.2 million housing units were rebuilt in rundown urban areas and 1.9 million dilapidated rural houses were renovated.
China has also made all-around progress in green development. The Chinese government has strengthened the awareness of ecological conservation and energy saving, and mobilized the entire society to participate in efforts to protect the environment. China has implemented three major action plans on tackling air, water and soil pollution in an effort to strengthen prevention and control of pollution. In 2018, China’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 3 percent and 3.6 percent respectively, year-on-year. Water consumption per 10,000 yuan (US$1,450) of GDP dropped by 5.1 percent. New progress was made in ecological conservation, with measures for assessing ecological conservation achievements introduced, the commercial logging of natural forests fully banned, and a wetland protection system put in place.
Furthermore, China has created public goods for other countries and regions, so as to contribute to the common prosperity of the international community. These include: the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, a solution to challenges facing all human society; the Belt and Road Initiative, a concrete path to promote global economic growth and provide momentum to achieve the SDGs; and maintaining and promoting the development of an open world economy, and fairer international system that benefits all countries and economies.
For example, at the first and second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China announced a host of major measures for advancing international development cooperation, injecting strong impetus into the global efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda.
At the second forum this year, China set clear priorities for Belt and Road cooperation and decided to strengthen all-around and multi-tiered cooperation. So far, 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed on to partake in the initiative to expand connectivity, trade and people-to-people exchanges and pursue common development throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond.
China supported more results-oriented cooperation and more concrete outcomes. During the second Belt and Road Forum, for example, more than 283 deliverables were achieved and participants in the entrepreneur conference signed agreements worth over US$64 billion.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented that with the scale of planned investments, the Belt and Road Initiative offers a meaningful opportunity to contribute to the creation of a more equitable, prosperous world for all, and to reverse the negative effects of climate change. Countries today need roads and bridges from the unsustainable, fossil-fueled gray economy to a clean, green, low-carbon energy future.
However, there are also obstacles in the way of achieving the SDGs. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018, issued by the UN, shows that, in some areas, progress is insufficient to meet the agenda’s goals and targets by 2030. This has placed even greater importance on the stability and growth of the world economy. The unfavorable state of the global economy casts a shadow in 2019 and beyond. Behind the statistics and data lie the greater risks of unilateralism, protectionism, and populism, and the rise of anti-globalization sentiment.
In this context, China adheres firmly to multilateralism, the UN system including the SDGs, and the WTO for the multilateral trade system, with the aim of realizing a shared future for all humankind.
Going forward, China will continue to earnestly and fully implement the 2030 Agenda under the guidance of the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. In the meantime, China will continue to offer assistance to the best of its ability to other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation, and support them in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve common development.
The author is an assistant researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.