Pros­per­ity through right to de­vel­op­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

Of­fi­cials and ex­perts on hu­man rights stud­ies from across the world spoke at the in­ter­na­tional sem­i­nar to mark the 30th an­niver­sary of the adop­tion of the United Na­tions Dec­la­ra­tion on the Right to De­vel­op­ment co-spon­sored by the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice and the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs on Sun­day and Monday in Beijing. Fol­low­ing are excerpts from the speeches of some of­fi­cials and ex­perts:

The global con­text for de­vel­op­ment has changed sig­nif­i­cantly in the past decade. Ris­ing in­equal­i­ties within and be­tween coun­tries, the im­pacts of cli­mate change, the long-term con­se­quences of the eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial cri­sis, and the burn­ing refugee is­sues, have im­peded the de­vel­op­ment ef­forts.

They have re­sulted in eco­nomic shocks and so­cial in­sta­bil­ity, which have shaped the in­ter­na­tional agenda and pre­oc­cu­pied pol­i­cy­mak­ers. The root cause of most of these chal­lenges is gen­er­ally at­trib­uted to the lack of in­clu­sive, eq­ui­table and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. The ab­sence of such in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment also makes it dif­fi­cult for so­ci­eties to se­cure and sus­tain peace and se­cu­rity.

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

In this re­gard, China’s ex­pe­ri­ence serves as an ex­am­ple for other coun­tries. It has lifted as many as 700 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty since re­form and open­ing-up and made sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in health­care, education, wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion in many ar­eas. China has al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agenda and af­firmed its de­ter­mi­na­tion to lift another 50 mil­lion res­i­dents liv­ing be­low the cur­rent poverty line out of poverty. It has also ex­tended its sup­port to other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in their own ef­forts to achieve sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Wu Hongbo, un­der-sec­re­tarygen­eral of the United Na­tions

The adop­tion of the UN Dec­la­ra­tion on the Right to De­vel­op­ment does not only mark the of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion of the right to de­vel­op­ment, but it can also be re­garded as the first suc­cess­ful joint ac­tion un­der­taken by the Global South, com­pris­ing Asia, Africa and Latin Amer­ica, at the in­ter­na­tional level in the area of hu­man rights. Its suc­cess can serve as a source of in­spi­ra­tion.

There can be no doubt that China’s suc­cess­ful ef­fort to erad­i­cate poverty is the big­gest hu­man rights ac­com­plish­ment in the his­tory of hu­mankind. Many Western­ers fail to see the right to de­vel­op­ment is not about money, but about hu­man dig­nity. Hav­ing de­cent san­i­ta­tion and hy­giene, ac­cess to af­ford­able health­care, and enough food on the ta­ble are the ba­sic con­di­tions of a dig­ni­fied life.

The link be­tween hu­man dig­nity and the right to de­vel­op­ment was made for the very first time elo­quently in the 1991 White Pa­per on Hu­man Rights in China. The idea of peo­ple-cen­tered de­vel­op­ment, as stressed by the white pa­per, has be­come a key con­cept in dis­cus­sions about the right to de­vel­op­ment.

Tom Zwart, a pro­fes­sor of hu­man rights at Utrecht Univer­sity and di­rec­tor of the Nether­lands School of Hu­man Rights Re­search

Al­though ter­ror­ism is a global threat, it is mostly the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries that are at the fore­front of this war, and the economies of many of these coun­tries are in­creas­ingly fac­ing un­prece­dented chal­lenges, as the fi­nan­cial cost of com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism is hin­der­ing the abil­ity to ef­fi­ciently uti­lize their lim­ited eco­nomic re­sources in pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able growth, job op­por­tu­ni­ties and so­cial in­clu­sion, thereby hin­der­ing the pro­cesses which these coun­tries have com­mit­ted to un­der­take to avail, safe­guard and ad­vance the UN Right to De­vel­op­ment for their so­ci­eties at large.

The global threat of ter­ror­ism em­pha­sizes the need for more ef­fec­tive global ac­tions to in­vest in the re­silience of our so­ci­eties, through ag­ile and ro­bust de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion that fo­cuses on in­vest­ment in hu­man cap­i­tal and em­pow­ers de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to ef­fec­tively de­liver more ef­fi­ciently ba­sic so­cial ser­vices for the peo­ple, in­clud­ing health­care and education.

This much needed co­op­er­a­tion, in­volv­ing de­vel­oped part­ners, mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment banks and in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, and con­sid­er­ably con­tribut­ing to the right to de­vel­op­ment, is an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent, not only in our fight against ter­ror­ism, but also in en­hanc­ing our ca­pac­ity to ad­dress other glob­ally daunt­ing chal­lenges, such as cli­mate change, nat­u­ral dis­as­ter risks and in­creas­ing in­equal­i­ties.

Hisham El-Zi­maity, a board mem­ber of the Egyp­tian Coun­cil for For­eign Af­fairs


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