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Speech by H.E. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of The People's Republic of China at Round Table of World Summit on Sustainable Development(03/09/2002)
2004/04/19
Mr. Chairman,

Today I am delighted to be with you here to discuss issues relating to global sustainable development.  The speeches of previous speakers were full of wisdom and most enlightening.  The question of how to implement the plan of action of this summit and to honor our commitments in real earnest bears not only directly on the success of the summit, but even more on the future of human society.

As the world's largest developing country in terms of population and land area, China attaches great importance to sustainable development.  In handling the relations between economic development and population, resources and environment, we have learned the following from experience:

----Emphasis on harmony between economic development and resource and environmental protection.  The primary task of developing countries is to develop the economy and eradicate poverty.  Without economic growth, there would be no material basis for a better life or better environment for the people.  But economic growth must not be achieved at the cost of environment or resources.  In the absence of proper resource and environmental protection, there could be no sustainable economic development.

----Adherence to the road to human-oriented development.  Economic development and environmental protection are both aimed at improving the level and quality of people's life and ensuring an all-round and long-term development of human beings.  We should strive to find a civilized road to development featuring higher productivity, a well-to-do life and sound ecosystem.

----Continued reliance on scientific and technological advancement and stronger management.  Science and technology, hi-tech in particular, gives strong backing to sustainable development.  We should focus on enhancing our capacity for sustainable development, further increase our input in science and technology, intensify our efforts in the development of environmental infrastructure, apply clean manufacturing technology, develop the industry of environmental protection and improve the resource and environment management system.  We should improve the mechanisms and the legal system through institutional reforms so as to facilitate the effective implementation of sustainable development strategies.

----Continued active participation in international environment and development cooperation.  In today's world, a country could not fully ensure its economic development and environmental protection without international exchanges and cooperation.  Through bilateral and multilateral cooperation in environment across the world, it could introduce capital, advanced technology and managerial expertise to enhance its capacity for sustainable development, while assuming responsibilities and honoring commitments.

Mr. Chairman,

To realize global sustainable development is a common task for all countries.  Both developed and developing countries should undertake obligations.  However, developed countries should shoulder greater responsibilities.  The implementation of the global sustainable development strategies hinges, to a considerable extent, upon the materialization of the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" set forth at the Rio Conference (UNCED).  In the past decade, there have been both progress and setbacks in this regard.  Some commitments have not been honored in earnest.  The Chinese Government maintains that the international community should strive to make greater headway in international cooperation on environment and development under the continued guidance of this principle.  Now we wish to make the following appeal:

1. Efforts should be made to enhance the capacity building of developing countries for sustainable development.  The international community should vigorously support their efforts in taking their own road to development, so that the diversified development of countries will help realize global sustainable development strategies.  Developed countries, while resolving their own domestic environmental problems, should assist developing countries in such areas as technical consultancy, personnel training and mechanism building.  As education plays a vital role in promoting sustainable development, the international community should take effective action to help developing countries improve their level of education so as to enhance the awareness and the quality of the general public with regard to sustainable development.

2. Multiple channels should be utilized to raise funds of all kinds for sustainable development.  Adequate financial resources are a prerequisite for the implementation of Agenda 21 by various countries.  Constrained by their level of economic development, developing countries lack financial resources.  We hope that developed countries will honor their commitments by taking effective action in respect of financing and technology transfer.  At the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey early this year, gratifying progress was made on the question of giving financial assistance to developing countries.  It is hoped that the UN and other relevant international agencies will step up coordination and ensure the materialization of what was achieved at the conference.

3. Great efforts should be made to boost international cooperation in science and technology as well as trade.  More exports from developing countries will help spur economic development and lead to better protection of the environment.  It is imperative to remove restrictions currently imposed on exports from developing countries under the pretext of environmental protection.  It is essential to fully understand the difficulties facing developing countries in such fields as trade and technology transfer and to remove trade and technical barriers.

Mr. Chairman,

To carry out the strategy of sustainable development involves the economy, social development, population, resources, environment and many other fields.  We should cooperate with one another in all sincerity, stress practical results and do a good job in every sector of work.  Above all, we should give priority to resolving such issues as poverty, hunger, shortage of water resources, urban air pollution, soil erosion, energy and health, which are of concern to the vast number of developing countries.  The international community should understand and support the reasonable requests of developing countries on these issues.  Otherwise it would be impossible to ultimately achieve the goal of global sustainable development.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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