UN lauds China's role in addressing climate change

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken highly of China's "constructive and active role" in tackling climate change, hailing China as "a leader in promoting South-South cooperation" and vowing to further strengthen cooperation between the world body and the globe's largest developing country to work for a sustainable future.

"China has played a constructive and active role in the negotiation of the Paris agreement," said the secretary-general in a written interview with Xinhua, referring to a universally binding accord that is expected to be adopted at the Paris conference on climate change, which is scheduled to be held from Nov. 30 and Dec. 11.

"I am confident that China will continue to play such a role in Paris on the issue of differentiation and climate finance," Ban said, touching upon the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which says that countries with different economic, social, and historical backgrounds should contribute according to their differences.

"The joint China-U.S. announcement signals the shared vision and seriousness with which the world's two largest economies are moving to a low-carbon future," said Ban. "It demonstrates strong leadership and momentum for a comprehensive global climate agreement in Paris."

During Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the United States in September, Xi and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama issued a new China-U.S. joint statement on climate change, reiterating their resolve to work together and with others toward an ambitious, successful outcome at the upcoming climate conference in Paris.

"The China-France joint statement on climate change addressed several difficult issues and made a great contribution to paving the way to a successful agreement in Paris," Ban said.

On Nov. 2, President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Francois Hollande issued a joint statement on climate change in Beijing, pledging to promote a working program to accelerate pre-2020 efforts in mitigation, adaptation and support during the Paris climate conference. They called for a better transparency system to build trust and confidence in the Paris pact, as well as means to review the actions and support of various parties.

"Both the China-U.S. agreement and the China-France agreement are important inputs into the multilateral UNFCCC process," the secretary-general said, referring to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Asked to comment on China's Five-Year Plan from 2016 to 2020, which aims at a more sustainable and balanced way of development, the secretary-general said, "China's development transition will not only help China tackle the growing pressure from resource consumption and environment degradation, but also demonstrate to the rest of the world, and to other developing countries in particular, that it is possible to pursue a new development path that is both more sustainable and climate friendly."

"This shift is essential because taking timely and universal action on climate change is the only guarantee that the world can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, build stronger economies and safer, healthier, and more livable societies everywhere, and deliver more benefits to other developing countries," he said.

The Sustainable Development Goals, approved by world leaders in September, are a blueprint for the global sustainable development efforts for the next 15 years.

"China has become an implementer and innovator in promoting low carbon development and green growth," he said. "Along with the economic growth and improvement of overall capacities, China has become more confident in participating global governance to address climate change and achieve sustainable development."

"At the Sustainable Development Summit this September, China expressed a strong willingness to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change through international cooperation, in particular, by promoting South-South cooperation," he said. "China has been a leader in promoting South-South cooperation, which is playing a complementary yet critical role in promoting global collaboration to address climate change."

"The UN can, and is willing to, cooperate with China to build a wider and broader global partnership with the Global South and other relevant stakeholders to promote South-South cooperation," he said.

"I can see China playing a leading role in addressing climate change and achieving sustainable development by advocating even more ambitious polices and measures that can be implemented domestically to promote low carbon development and green growth, by leading in the implementation of the outcomes of the Paris conference, and by continuing its leadership role in advancing South-South cooperation and in building a wider partnership for a sustainable world," Ban added.

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