Mr. GAO Zimin, Secretary General of CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee,
Mr. YUAN Zhibing, Secretary-General of China NGO Network for International Exchanges,
Mr. WANG Shi, Chairman of Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchanges and Cooperation,
Mr. MA Weihua, Honorary President of Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchanges and Cooperation,
Mr. ZHANG Yi, Deputy Director General of China Center for International Economic Exchanges,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be with you today, and to see the public sector, civil society and businesses coming together to find new ways forward for our future on earth. A world that, by 2030, can continue sustaining life – and leaves no one behind.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, are vital to that future. These goals – to end poverty and protect our planet for generations to come – represent the most ambitious agenda in human history. And our survival depends on us all meeting them.
In the five years since countries committed to the SDGs, progress has been made in some key areas:
· More children are surviving worldwide, with the under-5 mortality rate almost halving between 2000 and 2017;
· The vast majority of people globally now have access to electricity;
· And, 186 parties have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change.
But the road ahead is long and steep. The UN Secretary General’s 2019 report shows progress towards the SDGs is too slow, and even regressing in certain areas:
· Almost 500 million people could remain in extreme poverty by 2030, if we continue addressing the SDGs at the current pace.
· The number of people suffering from hunger was the highest in a decade in 2018 with 821 million people affected
· The past four years have been the warmest on record;
· At least half of the world’s population still lacks essential health services;
We need new, faster and more ambitious efforts from everyone to get on track towards our shared goals. This goes beyond governments, with companies, communities, grassroots initiatives and civil society organisations all being key partners in advancing this agenda.
Since China’s opening-up reform 40 years ago, Shenzhen has been a remarkable example of developmental transformation and rapid growth, benefiting from its spirit of innovation, as China’s first Special Economic Zone. Today, Shenzhen is leading the way for a new kind of growth, as one of China’s first National Innovation Demonstration Zones for Sustainable Development.
To support Shenzhen’s piloting role in implementing the SDGs, UNDP and Shenzhen have partnered in a number of areas:
· We are working together to prepare China’s and Asia Pacific’s first city-level SDGs progress report. This support will also be extended to other Chinese cities to report on SDG progress.
· UNDP has also been working with our government counterparts, like Shenzhen, on exploring new SDG financing tools through research and policy advocacy, to encourage investments for sustainable development.
The collaboration we are launching today – empowering Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to participate in international cooperation for Sustainable Development – grows our existing partnership with Shenzhen further, with a wider network and scope.
The benefits of strengthened civil society engagement in the global agenda are clear, and the role of CSOs in carrying it out is crucial. The 2030 Agenda promises inclusiveness and accountability “to the people”, requiring global and national policies to be guided by the needs of local communities. CSOs often serve as the bridge among different stakeholders, by enhancing local ownership of initiatives and giving a voice to those directly affected. Standing on the frontlines, CSOs also operate on principles that place people - particularly the most vulnerable – and the planet at the center of their work, so both are protected. Additionally, CSOs are primary agents of development, from promoting equality, to delivering services, combatting climate change and providing humanitarian aid.
While civil society stakeholders will likely see their missions reflected in the SDGs, the question is, do we have the processes in place to allow them engage meaningfully and effectively?
Today’s launch of the project on Chinese CSOs ‘Going Global’ Empowerment Platform may offer a solution that responds to three needs for successful CSO participation:
· Firstly, we need an enabling environment that allows Chinese CSOs to thrive. Using evidence-based research through case studies, UNDP aims to help CSOs identify key bottlenecks, such as difficulties sending funds and equipment abroad. We also aim to offer policy guidance, to help policy makers find practical solutions to these problems.
· Secondly, we must equip Chinese CSOs going overseas with the knowledge and capacities to perform their functions as international development agents. With UNDP support, we are developing a systematic approach to assess CSO capacity gaps and provide recommendations how to address them. Through training, international exchanges and talent development programmes, we aim to provide CSOs with the know-how and resources to go global.
· Thirdly, we must promote partnerships. UNDP helps match demands and resources to mobilize multi-stakeholder partnerships domestically and beyond, across the public and private sector. We use partnerships to engage in new approaches and business models that champion the 2030 Agenda.
Before concluding, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Shenzhen Government, the Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation, the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, as well as CSOs and experts participating. Thank you for your support and efforts in harnessing the power of people to make the SDGs a reality for all.
Delivering sustainable development for all will not be easy, and we cannot walk this path alone. Joining together, let’s make the 2030 Agenda not simply a bold vision, but a solemn promise to all people, and to be realized with all people.