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

Keynote address
"International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration
on the Right to Development– Sharing Development: For Delivering Greater Benefit
to All People in the World"

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to deliver the keynote address at this “International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development.”

I wish to congratulate the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China for organizing this important event.

As we all know, development, peace and security, and human rights are the main pillars of the work of the United Nations. The UN Charter provides both the legitimacy and the mandate linking these crucial aspects of the Organization’s activities. The broad development mandate emanating from United Nations conferences and summits includes operationalizing global development norms and frameworks, such as the UN Declaration on the Right to Development

Article 1 of the Declaration defines the right to development as “an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized”. The Declaration clearly states that the right to development is an integral and indispensable element of human rights norms. That means that all other human rights are difficult to realize and sustain without the right to development. This linkage is self-evident.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The global context for development has changed significantly in the past decade. Rising inequalities within and between countries, climate change impacts, the long term consequences of the economic and financial crisis and the burning refugee issue have impeded development efforts. It has resulted in economic shocks and social instability that have shaped the international agenda and preoccupied policymakers. The root cause of most of these challenges is generally attributed to lack of inclusive and equitable sustainable development.
The absence of such inclusive development also makes it difficult for societies to secure and sustain peace and security. Hence the realization of the right to development is at the core of all UN mandates.

In the context of these challenges, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development opens new prospects for realizing the right to development.

The 2030 Agenda is a comprehensive plan for people, planet and prosperity, applicable to all countries. The 17 SDGs and 169 targets, that form the core of the 2030 Agenda, are integrated and indivisible. They balance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the 2030 Agenda “reflects the spirit of the Declaration on the Right to Development.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Poverty eradication continues to be one of the critical elements in the promotion and realization of the right to development. The 2030 Agenda recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. Member States pledged that the overarching goal of the Agenda is to “leave no one behind” and to reach the furthest behind first. Its success will be measured, therefore, by the impact of the Goals on the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.

In this regard, China’s experience serves as an example for other countries. Between 1990 and 2015, China lifted about 700 million people out of poverty and made significant advances in health, education, water and sanitation and other areas.

China has already made significant advances in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and affirmed its determination to lift all the 55.75 million rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty, among other ambitions. It has also extended its support to other developing countries in their own efforts to achieve sustainable development.

While each country is primarily responsible for its own sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda affirms that international cooperation, multi-stakeholder partnerships and a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development are essential for its implementation.

The United Nations has an important role to play. It will require the System to adapt. Reforms undertaken by the UN development system in the past two decades have yielded many tangible results. We no longer think in terms of agencies working in isolation as in the past. We are rapidly adapting so that we can help countries to benefit from the Organization’s policy knowledge and advice more effectively than ever before.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a renewed impetus to realizing the right to development.
I am confident that your discussions here today will build on the momentum for a shared prosperous and peaceful future.

I wish you success in your deliberations.

Thank you.

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