Nanjing, China, 31 October 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks at Nanjing University
Chancellor Hong Yinxing, President Chen Jun, Professor Wu Peiheng, Executive Vice-President Zhang Rong,
Distinguished Government representatives, Esteemed faculty members, Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here on this beautiful campus at one of the world's oldest centers of learning.
Nanjing has long been one of China's most historic cities.
It has seen dynasties rise and fall. It has endured natural disasters and the worst atrocities of war.
Today, Nanjing is at the heart of China's growth, and this university is playing a central role.
Thank you for welcoming me into your distinguished family.
I accept this Honorary Doctorate not for myself but for the organization I serve, the United Nations.
By honouring me, you are recognizing the critical role of the UN in shaping our modern world, a world that increasingly looks to China.
Every time I come to China I marvel at its dynamism, the breath-taking speed at which it is changing.
I saw this today on the new Huning High Speed Railway from Shanghai. Three hundred kilometres in just over an hour.
This is not even your fastest train.
Last week China introduced the world's fastest scheduled service between Shanghai and Hangzhou.
And I read in the news that China is a front-runner to build a super-fast computer.
China is, indeed, a country on the move.
Its transformation is profound. Its influence is global. Its power is real.
By some accounts China's economy is now second only to the United States, larger than that of Japan or any single member of the European Union.
The decisions China makes today, on the economy, on the environment, on its political evolution, will reverberate down the generations and across the globe.
This is what I want to talk about today.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China is on the cusp between the developing and developed worlds.
You have met many of the Millennium Development Goal targets and you have the potential to meet them all by 2015.
And yet per capita GDP is one-tenth that of the major developed countries.
China's coastal cities are modern and sophisticated.
And yet vast inland areas cry out for development.
Your economy is mighty.
And yet one hundred and fifty million Chinese live below the poverty line.
That is why development remains China's top priority.
The question on everyone's minds, here in China and abroad, is how to ensure that this development is sustainable.
Yesterday and this morning, in Shanghai, I visited Expo 2010, the first to be hosted in a developing country.
The theme of the Expo is "Better City, Better Life".
We have entered the urban century. More than half the world's population lives in towns and cities.
This presents considerable challenges but also massive opportunities for sustainable development and improving people's well-being.
Yesterday, at the China Pavilion, I saw some of the possible solutions: compact urban design, mixed land use, mass transit systems, renewable energy, low carbon living.
China is becoming a world leader in pioneering these concepts.
This, for me, is one of the most significant aspects of China's development.
You are aware of the problems and challenges inherent in your push for growth and development.
You are discussing them and you are acting to solve them.
But let us be under no illusion. The road ahead is long and hard. It is full of potholes.
The Chinese people should be proud of their remarkable achievements in lifting millions out of poverty.
The world's most populous country is its fastest growing economy.
You have become the world's largest manufacturer and exporter.
But you are also the world's greatest emitter of greenhouse gases, the price of feeding the consumption habits of people in developed countries.
As China rises from poverty, its people, too, will seek more material comforts.
You are the fastest growing market for cars in the world.
Seven of the world's ten most polluted cities are in China. Your environmental footprint is growing daily.
Ten years of close regulation have seen China's forests start to recover, but your paper mills and furniture makers contribute to the loss of forests in Russia, Indonesia and Brazil.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is right to ask whether such growth is sustainable in China.
Fortunately, China is asking itself these questions.
In fact, many of these questions were raised during recent discussions on the next five-year plan for economic and social development.
Increasingly, China is not only fighting poverty.
It is also beginning to fight the side-effects of prosperity -- climate change
and environmental degradation.
You have set a target of controlling biodiversity loss by 2020, backed by state funds.
China's biodiversity action plan designates 35 priority conservation areas, covering 23 per cent of the country.
And you are investing in the low-carbon economy, more than 34 billion dollars
last year, more than any other nation, including Germany, the other investment leader, double what the United States spent. Three of the top 10 global wind turbine makers are in China.
You command half the global solar market. Indeed, the world's first solar energy billionaire is Chinese.
These facts tell me that China is serious about sustainable development.
We all need to get serious about sustainable development.
That is why, in August, I established a new High Level Panel on Global Sustainability, co-chaired by the Presidents of Finland and South Africa.
I am sure you will be pleased to know that Dr. Zheng Guoguang, Administrator of the China Meteorological Administration, and a distinguished alumnus of this university, is a member of the Panel.
I have asked this Panel to offer a vision for sustainable development and prosperity for a planet under increasing pressure.
I have asked them to find integrated solutions to the global challenges of poverty, climate change, water, food, and energy security. These problems are interconnected.
The Panel will report back by the end of 2011. Its work will venture into many issues, many sectors, many cross-cutting areas.
I have asked the Panel members to think big, to be bold and ambitious not to shy away from controversy.
And I have asked them to be strategic and practical. Their recommendations
must be politically viable and lead to tangible progress.
Their findings will feed into intergovernmental processes, such as the climate change negotiations.
They will play a key part in the Rio 2012 Earth Summit, twenty years after world leaders agreed on Agenda 21, our blueprint for sustainable development.
On all these areas - sustainable development, climate change - we will depend on China's leadership.
On climate change, I thank the Government of China for hosting the latest round of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Tianjin.
I am pleased that we are seeing some progress on important issues, such as adaptation, technology cooperation and st
Statements on 31 October 2010