November 7, Beijing – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Mourad Wahba highlighted China’s human development progress and called for continued collective action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a keynote speech during an event today in Beijing to mark the 40th Anniversary of UNDP in China.
He took stock of the past four decades of partnership between UNDP and China as well as the road ahead into 2020 and beyond. “The ‘opening up’ of China has allowed more than 750 million people to be lifted out of poverty, equivalent to almost one in ten people on earth,” he said. “We at UNDP are deeply proud to have played a part in supporting China’s extraordinary successes.”
Wahba also highlighted key challenges that China and the world face moving forward including global poverty and the threat of climate change.
“At our current trajectory, 6 per cent of the world’s population will remain in extreme poverty by 2030 -- missing our goal of ending poverty in all of its forms, everywhere,” said Wahba.
He also noted that the past five years have been the warmest since records began and the world has seen more frequent and more extreme weather-related events. “This could cost US $47 billion a year in losses, if global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius,” he added.
He called for globally coordinated efforts and accelerated actions to turn the SDGs into a shared reality, envisaging “a planet that can sustain everyone, and a society that can include everyone.”
“That is our next destination,” he said. “And China will be key in achieving that better future.”
The event concluded with a preliminary launch of the National Human Development Report Special Edition, prepared jointly with the State Information Centre and the China Institute for Development Planning at Tsinghua University.
Wahba is conducting his first official visit to China as UNDP Associate Administrator from 6 to 10 November. During this time, he will also hold bilateral meetings with Zhang Maoyu, Vice Chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), and Shang Yong, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Emergency Management, among other activities.