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Remarks by Counselor He Fuxiang of the Permanent Mission of the PRC to the UN at the Webinar Convened by WFEO

2020/07/08

Honorable Professor Gong Ke, President of WFEO,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning, Good afternoon and Good evening,

It’s a privilege to be invited to attend the HLPF side event convened by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations. On behalf of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate WFEO for convening this event and exchange with you some ideas on the important role engineering technology plays in advancing sustainable development.

First, engineering technology is an important engine for advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As Chinese President Xi Jinping points out, “engineering technology is a key driver triggering deep social revolution, benefiting human beings, transforming the future. In a word, engineering technology is an important driver behind the transformation of the world." In 2015, at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, leaders of more than 190 member states jointly recognized the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past five years, although many achievements have been made, there are still huge challenges to meet the ultimate goals and targets. Against this backdrop, at the Sustainable Development Summit in September last year, a “decade of action” declaration was adopted to accelerate the realization of sustainable development goals in the coming decade, in which the need to better harness science technology and innovation (STI) as one of the 4 key levers was highlighted. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more imperative for countries around the world to lever STI to accelerate global transformation and advance sustainable development goals. The role of engineering technology and engineers is of great importance.

Second, leveraging science and technology and Innovation to promote sustainable urban development is pivotal for advancing the sustainable development goals and targets. Since the Industrial Revolution, more and more people have moved to cities and metropolises. The 21st century will witness further urbanization. It is estimated that by 2050, cities will be home to 68% of the world’s population, consuming 66% of the world’s energy, and emitting 75% of the world’s total carbon dioxide. However, the increasing problem of imbalanced development within the cities and the gap between the urban and peri-urban environments have become more compelling. The world has a large number of poor people living in the cities. Issues like water pollution, shortage of energy and inadequate public health resources are some of the urgent challenges facing our cities. Therefore, sustainable urban development is crucial to achieving a future of sustainable development. This side event convened by WFEO highlights this critical issue, provides the technological solution of integrating spatial information technology into building information models, and will present successful cases of application. We appreciate these efforts by WFEO and its partners.

Third, thanks to the contribution of STI, great achievements have been made in the area of urbanization since China’s open up. Over the past four decades of China’s reform and opening up, China has been dramatically urbanized, with the rate of urbanization increasing from less than 18% in 1978 to 36% in 2000, and exceeding 60% in 2019. The urban population has increased from less than 180 million in 1978 to 840 million in 2019. In this process, China attaches great importance to sustainable development of cities, by securing universal employment, implementing affordable housing projects, continuously improving infrastructure and their resilience to disasters, and promoting equal public services including compulsory education, medical care and pensions for the seniors, etc, during which engineering technology has played an important role. In response to the new technology and industry revolution, the Chinese government is stepping up efforts in constructing “New Infrastructure” characterized by digitalization, which will provide a stronger impetus for accelerating sustainable development. We look forward to deepening international cooperation in engineering technology and urbanization and work with the rest of the international community to accelerate sustainable development at city, country and global levels.

The pandemic of COVID-19 unravels the indisputable fact that all human beings live in a community of a shared future. People must unite to respond to the challenges collectively and work together to accelerate the attainment of sustainable development goals and targets. China will continue to pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, deeply engage in international cooperation on development and STI, and reinforce global development partnerships, to contribute even more to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Thank you.

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