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Statement by Amb. MA Zhaoxu at the meeting jointly organized by the African Group and Permanent Mission of China on the Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights through the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The Permanent Mission of China is very much honored to co-sponsor today's meeting with the African Group. I wish to first of all thank Ambassador Jean-Marie Ehouzou of the African Union, and Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa for co-hosting this meeting today. I would also like to express my sincere appreciations for the distinguished panelists for your kind presence.

A year ago, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, outlining a great vision for national development and international development cooperation, was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. This is a milestone event for the international development cause. The 2030 Agenda identified 17 goals and 169 targets, covering such aspects as poverty reduction, food, health, education, drinking water and sanitation, employment, ecological environment, and social development. Full implementation of the 2030 Agenda will give impetus to sustainable development worldwide, and promote the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Development is vital to the promotion and protection of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights. At present, the international development cause still faces great challenges. With sluggish world economic recovery, widening development gap between the North and the South, dwindling momentum in international development cooperation, international development is faced with challenges like refugee crisis, armed conflicts, terrorism, public health threats and the climate change. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development. However, the economic, social, cultural rights as well as the right to development have not been effectively implemented worldwide. The international community can not afford wasting any more time in implementing the Agenda. We should use this opportunity to eliminate obstacles to development, promote international development cause, improve people's well-being, and provide the necessary condition and solid foundation for the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights for all.

To promote sustainable development, we call for joint efforts in the following areas:

First, jointly create a peaceful and stable international environment. Without peace and stability, there will be little chance for development or prosperity. Countries should seek peaceful coexistence, follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, forge a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and create a peaceful, stable and harmonious environment at regional and international levels. Efforts should be made to improve global economic governance and strengthen the representation and voice of developing countries in international economic governance.

Second, advance economic, social and environmental development in a coordinated manner. Eradication of poverty and hunger should be at the core of the agenda, as it will lay a solid foundation for sustainable development. Great efforts must be made to optimize economic structure and promote innovation-driven development for the purpose of achieving sustained, sound and steady economic growth. Public service systems for employment, education, social security and health care must be improved to ensure a life of dignity for all. We should promote a culture of ecological conservation that is based on respect for, adaption to and protection of the nature to strive for harmonious coexistence between men and the nature.

Third, strengthen global development partnership. National governments shoulder the primary responsibility for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The international community should fully respect countries' rights to independently choose their own social systems and development paths. North-South cooperation should continue to serve as the main channel of development financing. Developed countries should earnestly honor their ODA commitments to help integrate developing countries and Least Developed countries into the global industrial chain, and build their own capacity. Developing countries should formulate development strategies and economic policy that are suited to their national conditions, give full play to comparative advantages, and enhance their capacities for development. Developing countries should actively carry out South-South cooperation to draw strength from unity. The UN and other international organizations should play a greater role in promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Fourth, strive for people-centered and people-oriented development. Improving people's well-being and promoting integrated human development should be the starting point and objective of development. Countries should strengthen the mechanism for extensive consultations, joint efforts and shared benefits, 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, strengthen the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups including women, minors, the elderly and the disabled, and building an inclusive society and ensure that no one is left behind.

As the largest developing country, China has always put development as its priority, taking the path of human rights development that suits its national conditions. In the past 15 years, the Chinese government has attached great importance to and taken the lead in realizing the Millennium Development Goals, and made remarkable achievements in areas such as poverty reduction, sanitation and education. We have pushed for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and made good progress in laying out the guiding principles, top-level design, strategic planning, institutional guarantee and bringing out early results. Through these efforts, we expect to lift all the remaining 57 million rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020. We will realize ahead of schedule sustainable development targets related to hunger and poverty eradication, women and children's health care, and housing security, and meet the targets relevant to agriculture, health, education, economic growth and other key areas by 2030. China has released its national plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is our guideline in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We have every confidence in and are full capable of meeting all targets of sustainable development as scheduled.

As a responsible developing country, China has been implementing the measures President Xi Jinping announced at Summits Marking the 70th Anniversary of the UN, and has taken an active part in global development cooperation, helping other developing countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation and China-UN Peace and Development Fund will be put into operation this year. The Academy of South-South Cooperation and Development has enrolled the first group of students. Efforts are underway to implement the "Six 100" projects, which are designed to support developing countries in areas such as poverty reduction, agriculture, ecological protection, environment and education. Before the G20 Hangzhou Summit, China submitted its ratification documents of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations, contributing to the global efforts in addressing climate change. China's Belt and Road Initiative is underway and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in operation. All of the above-mentioned will provide new opportunities for and contribute to development worldwide.

China will continue to act on the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. China will deepen its cooperation with African countries in all fields, join hands in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. China's development will facilitate the development of Africa. Together we will fully implement the Follow-up Actions of Johannesburg Summit of The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, strengthen the five pillars of China-Africa relations, carry out ten cooperation plans for the next three years with a focus on helping Africa achieve industrialization and agricultural modernization. In this way, we will achieve win-win cooperation and common development for China and Africa, which will better benefit the Chinese and African people.

I would like to highlight that as the current President of the G20, China for the first time has placed development at the core of G20 agenda, and put implementation of the 2030 Agenda as one of the priorities of G20. Through China's efforts, the leaders at G20 Hangzhou Summit made the joint commitment of active implementation of the 2030 Agenda, formulated an action plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and for the first time took up the topic of supporting the industrialization of Africa and the LDCs. We also invited more developing countries than any previous G20 summits to participate in the year-round G20 activities, to fully heed the voices of the developing countries.

At the current session of the Human Rights Council, in the joint statement I delivered on behalf of nearly 140 developing countries including the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, I emphasized that development is vital for the promotion and protection of human rights. China is ready to make unremitting efforts together with the international community to fully implement the 2030 Agenda, push international development to a high scale, and contribute to creating a bright future where everyone is free from want, everyone shares the benefits of development, and everyone enjoys human rights.

Thank you all!

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