China Contributes Proactively to Implementing the 2030 Agenda
In September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the United Nations Development Summit and adopted the "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" alongside leaders of other countries. Covering 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 specific targets, the agenda represents a grand blueprint for global development.
Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an important way to address current global development challenges
The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, but challenges are still severe: fierce competition under the new round of technological revolution, insufficient global economic growth momentum, rise of anti-globalization, nationalism, populism, unilateralism, and protectionism, and decreasing participation and input in international cooperation of developed countries.
According to statistics, the world Gini coefficient has reached 0.7, exceeding the "warning line" of 0.6. The external environment faced by developing countries has deteriorated drastically, and global development is facing serious challenges. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides solutions to all challenges in global development covering poverty eradication, employment promotion, social protection and climate change.
Current global implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is unsatisfactory
According to Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 issued by the United Nations on July 9, 2019, the overall global implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has not been satisfactory, in spite of achievements made in decreasing extreme poverty rate, children mortality and unemployment rate, preventing and controlling infectious diseases like hepatitis, and promoting gender equality since the adoption of the agenda in 2015. For example, as the primary goal of the 2030 Agenda, the pace of poverty reduction has slowed down. It is expected that there will still be 6% of the population living in abject poverty by 2030, far from the target of 3%. In 2018, the number of people in hunger in the world has reached 820 million, showing an upward trend for three consecutive years. Malaria illness and deaths have remained unchanged in the past three years, with 3 billion people lacking hand washing facilities at home and 785 million people lacking safe drinking water. In 2017, 262 million youngsters aged 6 to 17 dropped out of school.
These figures show severe challenges for global development. To address these challenges, all parties, with joint efforts and perseverance, should learn from experience of countries that have achieved certain successful implementations.
China has achieved important progress in the agenda's early phase in many fields such as poverty eradication
China has not only taken the lead in issuing country programs and progress reports on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, but also integrated the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with the nation's medium- and long-term development strategies, such as the 13th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. Guided by the new development concepts of innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and sharing, the Chinese government is promoting the overall "Five-sphere Integrated Plan", making regular assessments to promote implementation. At the same time, China encourages pioneering trials through policy pilots, and promotes national innovation and sustainable development demonstrations in Shenzhen, Taiyuan, Guilin, Chenzhou, Lincang and Chengde in accordance with the principles of "innovation concept, problem orientation, multi-participation, open sharing". Local pioneering efforts provide a useful reference for local and other countries to implement the 2030 Agenda.
Eliminating all forms of poverty is the primary goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In November 2015, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the Decision on Winning the Battle of Poverty Alleviation, clarifying the overall goal of poverty alleviation, and vigorously implementing the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation. China’ rural poverty-stricken population dropped from 55.75 million in 2015 to 16.6 million in 2018, with the incidence of poverty falling from 5.7 percent to 1.7 percent. The annual per capita disposable income of rural residents in poverty-stricken areas increased from 7,653 yuan in 2015 to 10,371 yuan in 2018. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, China has adopted ecological construction as an important part of the "Five-sphere Integrated Plan" to develop China's modernization affairs. The idea of "Green mountains and clear water are equal to mountains of gold and silver" has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, and the ecological environment has been continuously improved. In 2018, energy consumption per unit of GDP and carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 3.1 percent and 4.0 percent year-on-year respectively. The average number of excellent days in 338 cities at prefecture level and above was 79.3 percent, increased by 1.3 percentage points year-on-year. It has also achieved gratifying results in many fields such as health, the rule of law, education, and gender equality.
China is playing a leading role in implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
In his address to the plenary session of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Chinese President Xi Jinping said that sustainable development is the inevitable outcome of societal productivity growth and technological progress, which answers to the common calls of most countries in the world. China is willing to join hands with the international community and pledge concrete actions to create a new path of sustainable development, he added. China has conducted practical cooperation in various fields and provided assistance consistent with its capacity to other developing countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda within the framework of South-South Cooperation, on the back of foundations and institutes established in recent years, including the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, Climate Change South-South Cooperation Fund, Center for International Knowledge on Development and the Academy of South-South Cooperation and Development. China has successfully held the first and the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, connected Belt and Road with implementation of the 2013 Agenda for sustainable development, and promoted comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development in economy, society and environment. This September, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi will attend the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and deliver a speech during the 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Summit. Hopefully, the voice of China and the Chinese solution will inject new vitality into the implementation of 2030 agenda for the global community.
Gong Sen and Hua Ruoyun are scholars of the Beijing-based China Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD).
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.