By Xiheng Jiang, Vice-President of China Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 shows that, while advances have been made in some areas, monumental challenges remain. The world is not on track to end poverty and millions still live in hunger. People in absolute poverty will remain at 6% by 2030, falling short of the 3% goal. It is also alarming that undernourished people went up from 784 million in 2015 to 821 million in 2017 and 55% of the population have no access to social protection. The report stresses that climate change and inequality are two major challenges, which demand enhanced national and collective action across countries, facilitated by international organizations.
China’s Progress Report on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2019) was also unveiled at UN Headquarters in September 2019. This second progress report since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015, takes stock of China’s progress in pursuing the SDGs, identifies the gaps and formulates plans for next steps. The report features cases depicting efforts by Chinese governments at all levels, also showing how the private sector and general public are contributing. So, how is China implementing the SDGs through its development policies? China is pushing its sustainable development forward in three key areas; eradicating extreme poverty, building an “ecological civilization” and contributing to global climate and sustainability governance.
By committing to eradicate extreme poverty by 2020, China is working to lift the remaining more than 50 million people out of poverty in 5 years, through targeted policy measures. These measures will help identify people in real poverty and the roots that explain why they are still trapped. The results up to now have been remarkable. 700 million people in China have moved out of poverty with the country’s economic boom. Important measures have been taken to improve the use of government resources for better social protection and better facilitation of income generation. Meanwhile, maternal and neonatal mortality ratios have further declined, meeting the related SDG targets ahead of time. The gaps between urban and rural areas and between different regions in terms of infrastructure like roads and internet, are continuously narrowing, along with the expansion of the social security net, and improved universal public service.