China's Position Paper on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of P. R. China
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), formulated on the basis of the Millennium Declaration during the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, are the most comprehensive, authoritative, and systematic international development goals to date. Since the establishment of the MDGs 15 years ago, the international community has seen much positive progress in implementing the Goals. Many of the targets—such as eradicating extreme poverty, providing access to safe drinking water, eliminating gender disparity in primary education, combating malaria, and improving the lives of slum dwellers—have been met or are nearing achievement. At the same time, however, countries around the world still face serious challenges in health, environment and other areas. The progress in different regions has been uneven, and the global development partnership needs to be further strengthened to bridge the gap. In this context, countries should continue to demonstrate political will and make concrete efforts to promote global development.
The United Nations will hold a Summit during its 70th General Assembly this September to review the progress of the MDGs and adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which will guide international development cooperation for the next 15 years. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the Summit and hopes that the event will demonstrate the strategic vision of the leaders, the solidarity of all parties, and their commitment to address global development issues through cooperation. We look forward to practical outcomes in the following areas:
(i) to build political consensus and adopt a new development approach to promote global development, address the problem of uneven and uncoordinated development and strike a balance between economic development, social justice and environmental protection.
(ii) to build a comprehensive and balanced framework for international development cooperation and strengthen global development partnership to ensure effective implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
(iii) to promote North-South cooperation and strengthen South-South cooperation, thus creating better conditions and environment for developing countries to achieve common development objectives.
II. Guiding Principles
Given that the Post-2015 Development Agenda is intended to continue and build upon the successes of the MDGs, the international community should take stock of its experience during the MDGs era and work together to draw up a fair, inclusive, and sustainable set of shared development aspirations. The following principles should thus be observed during this inter-governmental process:
―Focus on the key issues. It is essential to put emphasis on issues such as poverty, hunger and public sanitation, which are crucial to basic subsistence of people in developing countries. Effective measures should also be taken to tackle climate change, energy and resource security, weak economic growth, and other new emerging challenges that could impede sustainable development.
―Respect diversity in development models. It is important to recognize the different national realities and the level of development among countries and support their choice of development strategies, models, and paths most suited to their respective conditions.
―Adhere to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”. Countries need to make development their common objective, and—based on their capabilities—achieve their own development and participate in global development cooperation in their own ways.
―Seek win-win cooperation. It is important to abandon the zero-sum mentality, foster a sense of community of shared interests, replace confrontation and monopolization with win-win cooperation, seek a common ground while acknowledging differences, and look for the biggest common denominator in pursuit of global development.
―Carry out consultation on an equal footing. Countries should take an equal part in international development rule-making in a just, democratic, and transparent manner, and increase the voice and representation of developing countries are increased.
III. Key Themes and Priorities
(I) Eradicating poverty and hunger, and promoting economic growth. Poverty eradication is essential to people's fundamental right to subsistence and development, and is a top priority for all countries, developing countries in particular, as they pursue economic and social development. It should therefore be viewed as a core priority of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Toward this end, governments should scale up investment in poverty eradication, strengthen capacity building for the poor, women and children, and other vulnerable groups, while also encouraging the participation of enterprises and civil society organizations in poverty eradication. Economic growth should be emphasized as a priority task, including by putting in place open market systems featuring orderly competition, increasing people’s income, and improving their living standards. It is necessary to maintain continuity and stability of the macro-economic policies, speed up economic reform, promote scientific innovation, and foster new growth areas so as to achieve steady and sound economic development. Significant efforts should be made to advance modern agriculture, increase food production capacity, and safeguard food security. Governments should also develop well-planned urbanization strategies in a systematic manner and give play to the role of urbanization in driving economic growth.
(II) Comprehensively promoting social progress, and safeguarding fairness and justice. It is important to pursue inclusive growth, always put people first, eradicate inequality in all forms, and ensure that the fruits of development are fairly shared by all. Employment should be the priority of the economic and social development agenda, while a coordinating mechanism between economic growth and job creation should be established to promote higher-quality employment. A fairer and more sustainable social security system should be put in place and efforts made to help the vulnerable groups strengthen their development capacities. It is also essential to guarantee people’s right to education, promote equality and quality of education, and realize universal education at a higher level. A sound basic health care system should be implemented to make basic medical and health services more equitable and accessible, and raise the quality and efficiency of these services. Efforts should be made to promote all-round development of women, improve the health of women and children, raise the quality of population, and promote long-term and balanced demographic growth. It is also important to modernize the national governance system and governance capacity, comprehensively promote the rule of law, protect human rights, and create a good social environment conducive to development.
(Ш) Enhancing ecological conservation and promoting sustainable development. Countries need to respect and protect nature, raise public awareness of the importance of environmental and ecological protection and resource conservation, and sustainable patterns of production. The international community should vigorously address global climate change in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities. It is important to preserve biological diversity and uphold global ecological security through multi-pronged endeavors such as the expansion of forest coverage, rational harnessing of forest resources, control of air pollution, and safe disposal of hazardous waste. Efforts should be made to ensure safe drinking water for both urban and rural residents, allocate and use water resources efficiently, promote water recycling and reuse, strengthen international cooperation on disaster relief, and improve the disaster relief system to fight flood and drought. Intensified efforts should also be made to protect the marine environment and ensure rational use of marine resources.
Ⅳ. Enhancing the global development partnership
―Build a more equitable and balanced global partnership for development. North-South cooperation should continue to serve as the main channel of development financing. Developed countries must honor their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, and scale up their support for developing countries, especially African nations and least developed countries. South-South cooperation is a supplement to North-South cooperation, and the international community should encourage and support the efforts of developing countries to strengthen South-South cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, expand the areas of cooperation, improve the quality of cooperation, and seek strength through unity on the basis of mutually beneficial cooperation. The private sector, civil society organizations, philanthropic groups, and other stakeholders should be encouraged to play a bigger role in international development cooperation to increase the efficiency of development assistance.
―Strengthen capacity building of all countries. Countries should take the primary responsibility for their own development, formulate development strategies that are suited to their national conditions, mobilize domestic resources to the greatest extent, increase input in development, create a sound domestic environment for development, and improve people’s wellbeing.
―Give full play to the coordinating role of the United Nations. The functions of the United Nations in policy guidance and coordination should be strengthened to form synergy among the UN development system, specialized agencies, funds and programs, and integrated measures should be taken to mobilize development resources and advance international development cooperation.
V. Means of Implementation
―Intensify development financing. To mobilize development resources for realization of all development goals, it is essential to pool the political will at global, regional and national levels. Developed countries should channel 0.7% of their GNI to ODA in full and on time, take further steps to cancel debts and open market for developing countries. Innovative financing and the public-private partnership model provide new dimension for mobilization of development resources, but they cannot replace the function and role of ODA.
―Enhance human resources development and institutional capacity building through training, experience sharing, knowledge transfer and technical assistance.
―Establish and improve mechanisms for technology transfer to developing countries. It is imperative to promote and support development through research and development programs in science and technology, as well as through dissemination and transfer of technologies that meet the actual needs of developing countries.
―Establish effective global mechanism for development policy coordination. The development agenda should be incorporated into the global policy coordination system to benefit from international economic, financial, trade and investment policies.
―Strengthen global economic governance. The international community should maintain a free, open, and non-discriminatory global trade system, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, remove trade and investment barriers, and oppose and resist all forms of protectionism. Efforts should be made to accelerate the reform of the international financial system and implement agreed measures so as to increase the representation and voice of developing countries. International investment regulations should be improved to steer a reasonable flow of capital toward global development.
VI. Follow-up Implementation
―It will be imperative to strengthen the monitoring of the means of implementation at the international level, with a focus on the ODA commitments, technology transfer, and capacity building. The organizing and coordinating role of the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development should be fully leveraged.
―Incorporate the Post-2015 Development Agenda into each country's national development strategy, while leaving policy space and flexibility. Countries may assess their own implementation on a voluntary basis and in light of their respective national realities.
―Improve data collection and statistical analysis. It is necessary to help developing countries strengthen their capacities in data and statistics and improve the quality and timeliness of information. The UN Statistical Commission may provide technical support to its members.
VII. China's Practices
China accords great importance to the MDGs and has made remarkable progress in achieving them. It has incorporated the implementation of the MDGs into its national development strategy aimed to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China has met the MDGs on eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and women empowerment, reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health. Progress has also been made in improving the livelihoods of people in poorer areas, combatting diseases and ensuring the sustainability of the environment.
China is the first developing country to achieve the poverty eradication goal ahead of the MDGs deadline. China has contributed significantly to the global endeavor for poverty eradication, accounting for two-thirds of the world’s reduction in extreme poverty. The nine-year compulsory education is available throughout the country. Employment is increasing steadily nationwide. Gender equality has been by and large accomplished in education and employment. Medical and health care system has improved continuously, with the mortality rates of children and women dropping by 80% and 73.9%, respectively, and significant progress made in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. China has also reversed the trend of environmental and resource degradation, ensuring the access of another 500 million people to safe drinking water. The affordable housing project has been launched across the country to provide decent residences to the public.
China continues to take economic development as its central task and has comprehensively deepened its reform. Efforts have been made to strike a balance between steady economic growth and structural adjustment, improve the modern market system, and foster a new driving force for economic and social development. China is implementing the strategy of innovation-driven development, promoting the balanced development of new types of industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, optimizing the overall economic structure, and boosting coordinated and common development of different regions.
China continues to take social fairness, justice, and improvement of people’s lives as the starting point and ultimate goal of its development. As such, China has made efforts to reform and innovate social programs, encourage entrepreneurship, promote employment, strengthen social security and increase people’s income. China works vigorously to provide equal access to education for all and improve education quality, upgrade the basic medical and health care system, strengthen and make innovations in social governance, enhance government's capacity in providing social security and seek to establish a sound and sustainable basic public service system that meets China's national conditions and covers both urban and rural areas.
China has made intensified efforts to conserve energy, reduce emissions, and improve the environment. Measures have been taken to address climate change, fully implement the action plan for prevention and control of air pollution, promote low-carbon, energy-saving and environment-friendly technologies and products, phase out energy-intensive and highly polluting modes of production, and pursue a circular economy. Laws, regulations, and standards on energy-saving and emission reduction have been strengthened. China has worked to improve protection and management of water resources, and raise public awareness of water conservation. Efforts have also been made in protecting and rehabilitating the natural ecosystem, and preserving and strengthening biodiversity.
As a responsible developing country, China has provided support within its capability to over 120 developing countries under the framework of South-South cooperation to help them meet the MDGs. In achieving the MDGs, the Chinese government and people have conducted active exploration and practice in light of China’s national circumstances, accumulated rich development experience, and found a path of development with Chinese characteristics. China will continue to share development experience with other countries, champion inclusiveness and mutual learning, and promote common development.
Despite its remarkable achievements in economic and social development, China is still a developing country. China's economy has entered a phase of the “new normal”, with a growing downward pressure and the trend of unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development remaining a prominent issue. The agricultural foundation is still weak, while the constraints on resources and the environment have been intensified. The capacity for innovation is weak, and transforming the mode of economic development and readjusting economic structure remain a tough challenge. The development gap between urban and rural areas and between different regions is large, as are the income disparities among individuals. To address these difficulties and risks, China will remain committed to the strategy of spurring development through reform, accelerate the transformation of economic development mode, endeavor to achieve quality-based, effective and sustainable development, and attain the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
As the largest developing country, China will stick to its core principles in unswervingly following the path of peaceful development, an open strategy of mutual benefit, and a new type of international relations oriented toward win-win cooperation, thereby bringing benefit to the people of China and around the globe. Going forward, the Chinese government will, based on China’s national conditions, endeavor to align its own development strategy with the Post-2015 Development Agenda, work hand in hand with other countries and make ceaseless efforts to build a community of common destiny for mankind, helping realize the dreams of people across the world.