B&R News: UN symposium highlights Belt & Road, sustainable development
14 Jun 2018


A high-level symposium was held at the United Nations headquarters on Wednesday to find more links between the Belt and Road Initiative and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. More than 100 people from around 50 missions and UN agencies attended the symposium, which was jointly sponsored by the Chinese mission to the United Nations, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Health Organization, and United Nations Development Programme.



UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak said on the symposium that China's Belt and Road Initiative represents a commitment to the the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and multilateralism.


"Many countries are already seeing an increase in trade, economic growth and transfer of technology," he said. "These benefits, coupled with the right national policies, lead to the creation of decent jobs, poverty reduction and better infrastructure."


The UNGA chief praised the initiative for bringing about partnerships for the SDGs, noting it includes over 100 countries and international organizations.


Moreover, Lajcak said multilateralism is "the cornerstone of the Belt and Road Initiative," and that it shows China's commitment to its neighbors and to the principles of the UN.


"China's economic growth is not confined within its borders. As a multilateral player, China is sharing its wealth and best practices through the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.



Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said on the symposium that China's Belt and Road Initiative and the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have similar vision and principles.


"While the Belt and Road Initiative and the 2030 Agenda are different in their nature and scope, they share in many respects a similar vision and a set of basic principles," said Liu. "Both of them serve the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Both of them aim to promote win-win cooperation, shared development and prosperity, peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, and mutual understanding and trust."

More specifically, the five priority areas as defined in the Belt and Road Initiative -- connectivity in policy, facilities, trade, finance and among peoples -- are extensively and intrinsically linked with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, Liu told the high-level symposium.


The Belt and Road Initiative has provided a new open and inclusive platform for international development cooperation, which can make a great contribution to the achievement of the SDGs, he said.


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has encouraged the UN system to cooperate with the countries engaged in the Belt and Road Initiative in order to achieve the SDGs, he noted.


A broad range of joint activities, including capacity development projects, have been launched to assist the countries along the Belt and Road routes, he added.



UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said on the symposium that the vision of the Belt & Road Initiative is also a vision for children, as China's dramatic progress over the past two decades has also benefitted children.


UNICEF can be a critical partner for China as it extends its Belt & Road Initiative, by offering a presence in 190 countries, deep field experience, strong partnerships with governments and other UN agencies, and expertise in supporting children, she said.


The Belt & Road initiative is also an opportunity to dramatically expand South-South cooperation, for countries to learn from one another, scale up what works, and ultimately achieve more impact and more results around the world, she said.



Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Ma Zhaoxu said on the symposium that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China's initiative, but the opportunities and fruits that it presents belong to the whole world.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development 2015 set out 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets, charting the course for international development cooperation. The purpose of the agenda is to realize common development and prosperity for all through a stronger global partnership, he said.


The BRI and the 2030 Agenda resonate with and reinforce each other, Ma said, adding that together, they promote the cause of international cooperation for development.


Anchored in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, both are committed to multilateralism and international peace and development, Ma said.


The BRI follows an approach of extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits, and advocates openness and inclusiveness. The 2030 Agenda underscores international cooperation for development. Both are aimed at economic development and better lives for the people.


Being supportive of countries' own choices of development paths in accordance with their national conditions, both the BRI and 2030 Agenda reflect the desire for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, he said.


Over the past five years, the initiative has received positive response from the international community. More than 80 countries and international organizations have signed over 100 cooperation documents with China and a large number of cooperation projects have been implemented.