Nicholas Rosellini: United Nations Day 2017, Welcoming Remarks

Oct 24, 2017

Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator

Former Residence of Soong Ching-Ling, Beijing

Mr. Wang Jiarui, Vice-Chairperson of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference & Chairman of the Soong Ching-Ling Foundation,

Mr. Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce,

Mr. Tian Jinchen, Vice Governor of Qinghai Province,

Excellencies, Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Colleagues from the United Nations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations Country Team in China, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you. Thank you for joining us to commemorate United Nations Day 2017.

UN Day marks the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. In 1945, having experienced the horrors of World War II, delegates from fifty nations representing people of every race, religion and continent, gathered in San Francisco. They were determined to set up an organization which would preserve peace and help build a better world. The outcome of this conference was the entry into force of the UN’s founding document - the UN Charter.

As we celebrate the UN Day, I would like us to remember the noble aspirations that the UN was founded upon.

I am proud to stand here as a representative for an organization that believes in a world where nations can resolve their differences peacefully, promote dignity and human rights for everyone, and foster social and economic development in an environmentally sustainable way.

At the same time, we all know that to preserve peace and build a better world, noble aspirations are not enough. As noted in the Secretary Generals message, the world is faced with grave challenges. Poverty still plagues hundreds of millions; income inequality continues to increase; women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world; and climate change caused by human actions continues to inflict irreversible damage to our planet.  

To address these challenges, world leaders unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. Some may find the Agenda daunting, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 169 targets and 232 individual indicators. But, put most simply, it is about what kind of future we want. The 2030 Agenda aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. In other words, to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future, where no one is left behind.

Two years after the adoption of Agenda 2030, the world stands at a critical juncture to turn ideas into reality. Action on the SDGs is needed! This is why we have selected “SDG Action” as the theme for this event.

The efforts and commitment of the Government of China is a good example of SDG action. China has firmly aligned its national development plan with the SDGs.

Through targeted poverty alleviation efforts, the Government is well underway to achieve its goal of   lifting all poor out of poverty by 2020. If this goal is achieved on time, China will fulfil SDG 1 on eradicating poverty, ten years ahead of the global schedule.

China is not only taking action on the SDGs domestically, it is also contributing to the achievement of the goals in other countries. Through its expanding South-South Cooperation, China has earmarked billions to support global efforts to reduce poverty, address climate change and improve education and health.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative and presidency of the G20 summit in 2016 are other good examples of action that have helped to advance the SDGs globally.

The UN in China is working closely with the Government and other stakeholders in taking action on the SDGs. I encourage you to visit our SDG exhibition to get a flavor of the activities of our agencies.

Tonight, we also signed a Letter of Intent on cooperation between the United Nations in China and Qinghai Provincial Government on implementation of the SDGs in Qinghai. I am confident that this initiative will advance the implementation the SDGs in Qinghai. The collaboration is also an example of new types of partnerships for development, which we will need to see more of if the SDGs are to be reached.

Another example of how the UN is taking action on the SDGs is the Imagine 2030 Campaign, which we launched exactly one year ago to encourage participation among Chinese youth to act on the SDGs.

The campaign engaged hundreds of millions of young people, who used their imagination to inspire others to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development. With over 700 million views and 28 million comments on the Weibo page #Imagine 2030, the Campaign became an unprecedented hit on Chinese social media.

SDG action does not have to involve Governments or large stakeholder organizations. All of us can take action on the SDGs in our daily lives and within the organizations that we work. In this spirit, I am proud to announce that the UN in China commits to achieve gender parity in our workforce at all levels by 2026, in line with the Secretary-General’s pledge.

We will do this by localizing the UN’s global strategy on gender parity, closely monitor the progress of our agencies and take concreate measures that reduces gender biases in the decisions made in our hiring and promotion processes.

Before I conclude and let you enjoy tonight’s program, I would like to extend heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Wang Jiarui and colleagues from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation for graciously hosting us in this beautiful setting.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to you, our valuable partners, for the strong support to our work in China throughout the year.

Our appreciation also goes to the Master of Ceremonies Ms. Tian Wei, whom we are grateful for officiating at our function.

Last but not least, I want to recognize my dear colleagues and Heads of UN Agencies for their strong commitment and all UN staff members for their dedication to the work of the UN all the year round.  

I hope that this evening will inspire all of you to take action on the SDGs in the spirit of the UN’s founding objectives of preserving peace and building a better word for us all.

Thank you.

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