Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Selected speeches | Full text »

Remarks at Central Party School Roundtable on Global Governance and Harmonious Society

by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Beijing (China), 3 November 2010

Mr. Li Jingtian, Executive Vice President,
Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations,
Mrs. Lu Hailin, Wife of Mr. Li Baodong,
Mr. Li Shulei, Vice President,

Good morning.

I am delighted to meet with such an eminent group – the future leaders of China.

Let me begin with a statement of fundamental principle:

I believe the UN Charter resonates almost perfectly with the concept of a "harmonious world" – a vision of peoples and nations united in addressing global challenges and striving for collective security and peace.

It is grounded in the understanding that true peace is dependent on better understanding between nations and among communities, the realization of their economic and social development, and respect for human rights.

I know that many of you at the Party School in China have devoted much time and thought to global governance in our changing world.

I look forward to hearing your insights. If you are agreeable, I would like to have a conversation – an exchange of views on how we see the world – and how we see the way ahead for China and the UN, working together in these very challenging times.

As you know, I have been travelling widely this week – Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and, here in China, Shanghai, Nanjing and now Beijing.

I want to tell you how impressed I am. Every time I come to China, I see dramatic changes.

On Sunday, I took the new Huning High Speed Railroad to Nanjing – 300 kilometers in just over an hour. And this is not even your fastest train.

I also visited Expo 2010 in Shanghai – the first such expo in a developing country.

By any standard, it was an extraordinary success – a remarkable celebration of global diversity, highlighting China's new standing in the world.

Clearly, China is on the rise. Its transformation has been profound. Its influence is increasingly global. Its power is real.

I believe this rise is beneficial to the world.

That is what I would like to talk to you about today.

For with China's rise – with this remarkable progress – comes great expectations and great responsibilities.

We live in an era of global challenges – global crises that no nation can solve alone.

We face the challenges of climate change, the threat of global terrorism, disruptions in our transportation, communications and information systems – as well as the more traditional threats of infectious diseases, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, civil wars and intra–state conflicts.

In today's globalized world, these threats are increasingly interconnected. They demand concerted, coordinated action.

No country or region can do it alone.

For the UN to effectively address these myriad challenges, we need closer cooperation among Member States – stronger collaboration with regional Organizations – greater coordination with groups like the G20 and with civil society.

We also need better frameworks, rules and institutions for handling the many issues that transcend borders, as well as better coordination in their implementation.

In all this, we need China's full engagement.

We need China's leadership.

You in this room – China's best and brightest – will play your part. I am confident that you will do so with vigor, vision and full commitment to the common values that unite us.

I am referring, of course, to the shared values and principles of the UN Charter, as well as the body of international laws and agreements that are the foundation of our common quest for development, peace and security and human rights.

The values embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are timeless and shared yet unrealized in far too much of the globe. We must continue to work together to make those rights real in people's lives.

That will take a global effort. China's voice and example are critical. In this respect,

I welcome China's commitment to building a rule-of-law society and its notable advances in that ongoing journey.

China is contributing very constructively across a range of UN issues. And I want you to know: I am determined to make this UN-China partnership even stronger.

Let me touch, very briefly, on just a few issues that dominated my discussions with your leadership.

First, climate change.

As I am sure you know, last year's conference in Copenhagen did not meet all expectations.

That said, we did establish a firm foundation for progress. At the upcoming meeting in Cancun, and beyond, our challenge is to build on that progress.

In this regard, I thanked your government for hosting the latest round of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Tianjin.

I am also confident that, with China's engagement, we can make further progress on important issues.

Among them: financing for adaptation, technology cooperation and deforestation.

As with any great multilateral effort, the important thing is not to lose momentum.

China knows only too well the dangers of climate change. We have no more time to lose.

Second, the changing international situation.

We devoted considerable discussion to the delicate situation in Sudan. With the coming referenda, scheduled for early January, we are at a critical moment.

I asked your government's help in assisting the two sides find their away to a peaceful future, recognizing their shared interests.

We also recognized that China has a strong interest in strengthening its role in UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding. In this regard, Sudan represents an important passage in our growing partnership.

In addition to your diplomatic engagement, therefore, I also asked China's help on logistical issues of transport and technical support in the upcoming voting.

We spoke at length about next week's election in Myanmar.

I see it as an important test. Will the vote perpetuate an untenable status quo? Or will it set the country on course toward a more open, democratic and inclusive political future?

As a trusted neighbour and friend, China's role will be critical in helping the UN to help Myanmar find its way forward.

We also spoke about the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

As I see it, there is great potential for China and the United Nations to work together to calm tensions, revive the Six-Party talks and gradually bring the DPRK into a more open, mutually cooperative relationship with the international community.

Lastly, economic development – the focus of the bulk of our discussions.

You are well aware of our UN effort to realize the Millennium Development Goals.

This has been one of my top priorities – day and night, night and day, since I took office four years ago.

The MDGS represent the world's blueprint for lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty – to bring better education, health and social security to the poorest and most vulnerable people of the world.

Ten years have passed since we set these goals. Five years remain to our target date for achieving them – 2015.

That is why, in September at the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, I convened a special MDG summit.

Premier Wen came and renewed his commitment to advancing the goals. So did leaders of many other nations.

China, of course, is well-positioned to meet all the goals.

We can do so in many other nations, as well. But it will take a special effort.

We have learned many lessons over the past decade – what works, and what doesn't.

With the right mix of policies, targeting the right needs and the right people, we can create a "multiplier effect" that dramatically accelerates social and economic progress.

One thing we need above all else. That is leadership – political will and committed leadership.

As a global leader of the 21st century, China can help lead this campaign. China can help other countries lift themselves from poverty, much as China has raised its own people.

Indeed, I see this as China's responsibility, commensurate with its new place in the world.

An opportunity to exercise such leadership will come at the G20 summit in Seoul, beginning next week.

The global financial crisis, adversely affecting so many poorer countries, has forced us to re-assess global institutions.

We hear some countries speaking of resolving problems without full consultations; some even question the "relevance" of the United Nations.

That is why the summit in Seoul is so important. For the first time, G20 leaders have put development issues on the agenda.

The danger, as in the past, is that these critical discussions will be over-shadowed by on-going debates over the financial crisis.

In my meetings with your leadership, I stressed the importance of speaking out forcefully on the needs of developing countries during this very difficult period.

I see this as a necessary and vital element in China's vision of a "harmonious society."

No country can claim a perfect record. Everywhere, there is room for improvement.

As we move forward, we recognize that achieving the shared goals of human rights around the world is more than an aspiration, it is a foundation of peace and harmony in our modern world.

So too is respect for freedom of expression and the protection of its defenders.

In our modern world – this world where everything and everyone is inter-related – society is global.

More than ever, it is a practical and moral imperative to help those who are less fortunate – to help in direct proportion to our abilities.

I know that China still considers itself as a developing country – rightly.

But China today is also much, much more than that – not unlike my own country, the Republic of Korea.

That is why we count on China's leadership.

The UN and China have many avenues for greater cooperation in enhancing global governance, based on shared and common values.

The UN is world's preeminent international organization.

The world needs a strong UN.

But the UN can be strong only with the full support of its strongest members.

I am very happy to share with you, after meeting China's leadership, I can say that we are in full agreement.

The way to address all the issues we have discussed is through a greater role and enhanced authority of the United Nations.

I am confident that, together with China and the rest of the international community, we will make headway towards more harmonious global governance and a better world for all.

Thank you. Xie xie ni.