Ahead of Rio+20 UNDP Chief Seeks Closer Links on South-South Cooperation, Sustainability
Beijing — Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will conclude tomorrow her official visit to China (16-19 May). As China prepares to engage with the world at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June, Miss Clark’s presence in China signals the importance she attaches to a country that has outlined plans to cut its carbon intensity by 40- 45 percent by 2020 and enhance its natural resources management.
Miss Clark met with Premier Wen Jiabao to discuss the vital role that China will play in determining the success of the sustainable development agenda, as well as UNDP’s strengthened partnership with China. Having signed an agreement with Premier Wen in 2010, Miss Clark signalled out further strengthening South-South Cooperation and sharing China’s development experiences as one of her key priorities as UNDP Administrator.
“China has enjoyed a period of tremendous growth and has learned many lessons along the way,” said Miss Clark. “It is important that we work together to share these experiences in a way that is most beneficial to developing countries, and I have been encouraged by China’s willingness and commitment to do so.”
As part of her programme, Miss Clark also met with Mr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, where she focused on opportunities for global and regional cooperation between UNDP and China, including Rio+20, post-2015 development and South-South Cooperation.
In an earlier meeting with Mr. Li Jinzao, Vice-Minister of Commerce, Miss Clark exchanged similar views on the success of China’s first trilateral cooperation initiative in Cambodia, and agreed upon areas of future cooperation, including joint training and symposia.
To gain a better understanding of how UNDP can help promote balanced socio-economic development in China, Miss Clark met with Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. She also attended the launch of the China-India Country Study on Low Carbon Development, a joint initiative that brings the National Development and Reform Commission of China and the Energy and Resource Institute of India (TERI) together to examine existing barriers and solutions to promoting low carbon development on a global scale.
In her other engagements, Miss Clark held discussions with Mr. Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology, on technological innovation and the development of a green economy; and with Mr Li Liguo, Minister of Civil Affairs, to discuss China’s experience of and expertise in disaster risk management and expanding the role of social organisations. A meeting with Mr Li Shishi, Chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress, is planned for later today on public participation in law making.
During her four-day visit, Miss Clark also attended an event to promote a new UNDP initiative aimed at encouraging the private sector to enhance their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) profiles, as well as integrating the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – within their business operations.
“To succeed in the 21st century, businesses must pursue a ‘triple bottom-line approach’, Miss Clark said in her speech. “Put simply, businesses must see the economic, social and environmental dimensions of their operating costs.”
At this event, UNDP announced a new mechanism designed to assist Chinese enterprises in enhancing their ability to perform CSR by facilitating the sharing of successful experiences with other development countries under the framework of South-South Cooperation. Amid China’s growing overseas business interests, this initiative will pilot ‘pre-departure’ CSR training for Chinese companies intending to invest in other developing countries.
Miss Clark also took this opportunity to interact with the members of media and the public. For the first time, she engaged in a microblog (weibo) chat with the online community in China, sharing her thoughts on sustainable development and the future she envisions over the next 20 years.
It is the fourth time Ms. Clark has visited China since her appointment as UNDP Administrator in 2009. She is a strong advocate for poverty alleviation and gender equality, and is former Prime Minister of New Zealand, a position which she served in for three successive terms between 1998 and 2008.
Ms. Zhang Wei, Communications Officer, UNDP China.
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