China released its national plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which translates each target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into “action plans” for China. The plan has been posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), following the announcement of the plan by China’s Premier Li Keqiang during the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week in New York, US, on 19 September 2016. A MFA press release highlights China’s overarching approach of “innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.
China currently holds the Group of 20 (G-20) Presidency, and has previously called on the G-20 to formulate its own action plan on the 2030 Agenda. At a special briefing for UN Member States in April 2016, Li Baodong, China’s Vice Foreign Minister and G20 Sherpa, highlighted China’s position paper on the 2030 Agenda and the establishment of a domestic inter-agency mechanism to coordinate implementation of the Agenda.
The national implementation plan: reviews China’s experience and achievements in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); notes opportunities and challenges that it faces in implementing the 2030 Agenda; provides guiding thoughts and general principles for implementation; and indicates overall approaches. On “China’s action plans” for each SDG target, the plan includes, for SDG 1, a target to lift out of poverty the rural population of over 50 million people currently under the poverty line and, on a trial basis, provide “collective equity compensation” to residents in poverty-stricken areas whose collective land has been used for development of hydropower or mineral resources.
The plan mentions China’s delivery of the “Six 100s” international cooperation pledge, announced by President Xi Jinping during the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. The “Six 100s” are: 100 poverty alleviation programmes; 100 agricultural cooperation programmes; 100 trade facilitation programmes; 100 programmes for ecological protection and combating climate change; construction of 100 hospitals and clinics; and construction of 100 schools and vocational training centers.
Other targets in the plan include a national grain production target of over 600 billion kilograms by 2020 (SDG 2), maternal and child mortality targets (SDG 3), limits on the rate of stunting and underweight in children (SDG 2), and “zero growth” in fertilizers and pesticides (SDG 2).
The plan aims to safeguard the multilateral trading system and promote the Doha Round negotiations, while opposing trade protectionism (SDGs 2, 3, 17). It seeks to intensify the prevention and treatment of pollution from hazardous chemicals, promote recycling and safe disposal of all kinds of wastes of all kinds, and establish an emission permit system covering all fixed pollution sources (SDGs 3, 12) It states that, by 2020, China endeavors to establish a national centralized and real-time environment monitoring system, improve the environmental information disclosure system, and strengthen environmental law enforcement (SDG 3).
Other health targets (SDG 3) include treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, limiting the spread of tuberculosis and hepatitis B, and completely eradicating malaria. Among many other targets, the plan seeks to vigorously promote the development of traditional Chinese medicine and ethnomedicine.
The extensive education targets (SDG 4) include ensuring 12 years of free education for children with disabilities, and delivery of President Xi Jinping’s pledge to provide 120,000 training opportunities and 150,000 scholarships for other developing countries by 2020, including for scholars from the least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing States (SIDS), and African countries.
Energy targets (SDG 7) include the upgrading of power grids for small towns and rural centers, and ensuring full rural power coverage by 2020, and increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to about 20% by 2030. China also plans to engage in international cooperation on sustainable energy to a greater extent, strengthening its cooperation with the UN, the International Energy Forum, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
With regard to safe migration, China plans to advance reform of its own household registration system to make basic public services equally accessible to all, and to encourage more rural people to merge into urban life (SDG 10). Also on reducing inequality, the plan states that LDCs with diplomatic relations with China will be offered zero-tariff treatment on 97% of their products.
Urban air quality will be tackled, with the aim of reducing heavy pollution days in major cities by 25%, by 2020 (SDG 11). On sustainable consumption and production (SCP) (SDG 12), the plan advocates preserving “the fine Chinese tradition of frugality.” National water consumption will be limited to below 700 billion cubic meters by 2030, and the extended producer responsibility system (EPR) will be enforced.
On climate (SDG 13), China’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) will be integrated into national strategies, and climate mitigation actions will be leveraged in the shift to a new model of economic growth that advances environmental protection. China will urge developed countries to formulate a road map and timetable for mobilizing the international community’s commitment of US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the climate-related needs of developing countries and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
On peace, justice and institutions (SDG 16), China’s plan seeks to address bribery and corruption through strengthening Party discipline and accountability systems within the Communist Party of China (CPC). The plan refers to “relentless efforts” to improve Party conduct and punish improper conduct. The plan highlights China’s cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has established the Multilateral Tax Center that will provide training courses and technical aid on taxation for tax officials of other developing countries. The plan also refers to efforts to operationalize China’s Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation, implement the China-UN Fund for Peace and Development, promote the development of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the New Development Bank, and tap the full potential of the Silk Road Fund to attract international capital.
At the 2016 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), China became one of the first 22 countries to present a voluntary national review of efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. That review highlighted China’s determination to lift rural residents under the current poverty line out of poverty, as well as double GDP and per capita income from 2010 levels by 2020.