Speech to the Guiyang Eco Forum 2013

20 Jul 2013

Speech by Mr. Patrick Haverman, UNDP China Deputy-Country Director

Your Excellency Minister Xie Zhenhua, Director Su Wei,
Dear colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,

Xia Wu Hao! (good afternoon!)

It is a pleasure to participate in this side event on the South-South cooperation training programme that promotes green, low carbon development in developing countries. I thank the National Development and Reform Commission for hosting this event.

UNDP has been working in China for more than three decades, and is pleased to have partnered with China from the very beginning of its sustainable development work. We have engaged in work related to energy conservation and efficiency, natural resources management, commercialization of renewable energy and carbon finance, just to name a few.

The last China Human Development Report released by UNDP focused on low carbon economy and society. Working with the Renmin University of China, we provided a menu of policy choices and sequencing, as well as identified some areas where China could act in and avoid being locked into energy-intensive technologies.

China has put in tremendous efforts in promoting green, low carbon development and sustainable development in general. The country’s leadership adopted the policy of Ecological Civilization and is aiming to green its development trajectory.

President Xi Jinping stated in April that China will ‘focus more on the quality and efficiency of economic development, to build a "Beautiful China", and will strengthen the ecological civilization construction with more efforts toward green development, recycled development and low-carbon development.

The country’s various green initiatives, including low carbon pilots and emissions trading scheme pilots, ambitious targets for reducing carbon and energy intensity, its strong push for emerging strategic industries such as new energy, new-energy vehicles and environmental protection, all of these manifest this powerful determination to transform its economy and society toward one that is more green and sustainable.

However, with carbon emissions reaching historical levels and showing no signs of receding in the near future, it is clear that independent efforts of individual countries are not enough to address a complex, global phenomenon such as climate change that affects all of us. Enhanced international cooperation is necessary not only because addressing challenges such as climate change requires global coordination of efforts, but also because there are so many things that countries can learn from each other.   
As the international community has widely acknowledged, China is playing a very important role in South-South cooperation for promoting low carbon development, and for sustainable development generally. Among the commitments it made at last year’s Rio+20, China pledged RMB 200 million to help small island states, least developed countries, and African countries to tackle climate change. In the climate change conference COP17 at Durban, Minister Xie himself announced China’s intention to support countries on adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, and capacity building.

It is encouraging to see that China and many other developing countries are actively engaged in South-South interaction. Undoubtedly South-South co-operation will play a big role in promoting green, low carbon development, just as it is across the board in development.
UNDP’s latest 2013 global human development report, titled “The Rise of the South”, calls for new institutions, which can facilitate regional integration and South-South cooperation.
Emerging powers in the developing world are already sources of innovative social and economic policies and are major trade, investment and increasingly development cooperation partners for other developing countries.

The developing countries are also diffusing technology through new models of extensive coverage with low margins, which serve lower income households and reach a large number of consumers in markets that have weak support infrastructure. The fact is the innovation and solutions coming from countries in the South are often the most appropriate for others in the South to adapt to their circumstances.

Your Excellency, ladies, and gentlemen,

Sharing experiences across the South is central to UNDP’s work on sustainable development. We are supporting countries to implement hundreds of sustainable development projects in more than 160 countries.

In China, we are already working with multiple ministries on exploring innovative approaches to carry out South-South sustainable development projects. Substantial success has been made in areas such as trilateral cooperation and South-South knowledge- and experience-sharing – areas where UNDP development expertise is combined with Chinese knowhow to respond to sustainable development challenges that are facing developing countries. Given NDRC’s leading role in China’s climate change policy and the country’s strong interest to work with its fellow developing countries, UNDP is looking forward to extend our long-term partnership with NDRC and further engage in addressing development challenges through effective South-South climate change initiatives that use new implementation modalities.    

While the challenges of promoting sustainable development are considerable, proven solutions and strategies do exist. Many of those solutions and strategies are indeed coming from the countries of the South.

That is why at UNDP we have no doubt that South-South co-operation is set to play a significant role in finding paths for sustainable development and that’s why we believe this training programme will be so beneficial for all those who are involved.

I hope you all have a very successful and productive training programme.

Thank you.