Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Opening Remarks
2016 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the beginning of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at the UN Summit for Sustainable Development in 2015.

Including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, the 2030 Agenda is an unprecedentedly ambitious, universal, and overarching action plan, which charts a sustainable development path for the world for the next 15 years and beyond.

At the core of the Agenda is the determination by all the Member States to eradicate poverty and hunger in all their forms. This is within reach of the current generation for the first time in human history.

The implementation of the Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs depend critically on concrete actions taken at global, regional, national and sub-national levels.

We need to bring together Governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and other actors, mobilizing all available resources.

In particular, we need to strengthen all forms of international cooperation for sustainable development.

In this regard, the Belt and Road Initiative can play an important role and make a great contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Belt and Road run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. Some 65 countries are along the Belt and Road, accounting for about 60 per cent of the world population, 30 per cent of the world gross product, 40 per cent of world trade, and more than 50 per cent of the global population under the extreme poverty line.

While the Belt and Road and the 2030 Agenda are different in their nature and scope, they share in many respects a similar vision and some basic principles.

The Belt and Road Initiative is in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

The essential spirit of the Belt and Road to promote win-win cooperation, common development and prosperity, peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, and mutual understanding and trust, conforms to the basic values of the 2030 Agenda.

Moreover, the five priority areas for cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, namely, policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond, have inextricable links to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, facilities connectivity, including infrastructure investment, can play a crucial role in achieving the first Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty.

There is famous saying in China: in order to become prosperous, we have to start with constructing roads (要致富,先修路).

Economic theories and empirical studies have long attested that infrastructure investment can improve economic productivity, boost economic growth, and increase employment and earnings for people living in poverty. Infrastructure investment can also improve their access to health and education, thus enhancing human capital.

Indeed, as pointed out by President Xi, when he met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last month, jointly building the Belt and Road is to push forward the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

In closing, I would like to express my appreciation to People’s Daily for convening this Forum.

I wish you all for the productive discussion and fruitful results.

Thank you.

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