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UPDATED: August 18, 2015 Web Exclusive
Blueprinting a Better Earth
China applauds UN's historic new plan for ensuring the well-being of people going into a new age
By Ding Ying

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at a press conference on the new UN sustainable development agenda in New York City on August 3 (XINHUA)

Negotiators from 193 UN member states reached consensus on a draft blueprint for sustainable development in New York City on August 2. The new agenda, which will last through 2030, is widely believed that this new plan will create a better international environment for the development of fledgling countries as well as positively affecting the common prosperity of the whole world.

Outlining the future

According to the document, entitled "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," the 193 countries agreed to an ambitious plan that features 17 new sustainable development goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty, promote prosperity and improve people's well-being while at the same time protecting the environment by 2030. It calls on countries and their citizens to respect and safeguard the planet, and gives precedence to the fact that sound management of natural resources is the foundation of economic and social development.

The new agenda will be adopted in September by world leaders at the 2015 International Conference on Sustainable Development in New York City, representing the culmination of a two-year-long negotiating process. The SDGs are universal goals that all countries within resolve to take action upon, both within their own borders and in support of wider international efforts. Individual national commitments must add up to a worldwide drive to help all people and ensure a healthy environment. The SDGs, which address a multitude of issues ranging from poverty, gender equality and economic development to climate change and protection of ocean resources, are to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be reached by the end of this year. The previous targets, adopted in 2000, took aim at an array of issues that include reduction of poverty and hunger, disease control, gender inequality, as well as access to safe drinking water and sanitation. MDGs-related efforts have helped more than 1 billion people escape poverty.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreement, calling it "the People's Agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind."

Ban expressed high hopes for the upcoming UN sustainable development summit in September. He said that he believes it will chart a new era of sustainable development in which poverty will be eradicated, prosperity shared and the core drivers of climate change tackled.

"I look forward to joining heads of state and government, civil society, faith and business leaders, and people around the world for the adoption of this new agenda in the historic summit in New York City," Ban said.

He pointed out that the summit will also contribute toward achieving a meaningful agreement in the COP21 conference on climate change in Paris, France, in December, in a bid to reach an ambitious universal agreement on tackling the global issue.

China's role

Ambassador Wang Min, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN, said that the new blueprint reflects the fundamental wants and needs of developing countries including China. According to him, the document demonstrates the international community's firm resolve in committing to common development through cooperation and a win-win attitude, which has cemented a solid basis for the coming UN sustainable development summit in September.

Expectations are running high in China that the Post-2015 development agenda can be successfully approved at the summit, so as to place more global attention on future development and create a better international environment for the flourishing of developing countries and the common prosperity of the world, Wang said. 

Wang stressed that the release of the new UN agenda represents a hard-earned triumph, referring to the long and arduous negotiating process. He added that China has made "important contributions" to the process of seeking agreement among all 193 UN member states on the global development plan and has employed a constructive attitude. Among its developing brethren, he claimed, China, the world's second largest economy, has been making efforts in promoting unity and safeguarding common interests, while ameliorating differences amongst member states with the end goal of formulating a just, tolerant and sustainable development agenda.

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