05 May 2015
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark today concluded an official visit to China that saw her meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and other government ministers to discuss areas of mutual interest, including UNDP’s ongoing work with China and China’s growing international development cooperation.
The Administrator began her first day’s engagements at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meeting with Vice Minister Zhang Yesui to exchange views and find opportunities for cooperation around the Post-2015 Development Agenda and China’s G20 presidency in 2016. Vice Minister Zhang affirmed the importance that China attaches to the Post-2015 process, as evidenced by President Xi Jinping’s planned attendance at the September UN General Assembly. He also encouraged UNDP to cooperate with China as it hosts the 2016 G20 summit, given that UNDP has valuable experience in supporting previous summits held in Turkey and Russia.
Her next engagement was at the National Development and Reform Commission, where Vice Chairman He Lifeng thanked her for the international perspective that UNDP provided in the consultation and discussion process for the 13th Five Year Plan. The Vice Chairman also presented an overview of China’s One Belt One Road initiative and opportunities for cooperation therein to the Administrator. She noted the enormous implications the initiative held for regional economic growth and confirmed UNDP’s readiness to support the initiative, including with a proposed Regional Development Forum for the countries involved.
In the afternoon the Administrator met with Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, when she welcomed China’s increasing contribution to regional and global development. UNDP and the Ministry of Commerce jointly implement a series of trilateral cooperation projects in other developing nations including Cambodia, Burundi and Malawi, and the Administrator communicated her appreciation for the constructive relationship that UNDP and MOFCOM share. Minister Gao in turn celebrated UNDP’s long history of cooperation with China totalling over 800 projects, and in particular the Memorandum of Understanding for South-South Cooperation in 2010. He expressed a desire for continued cooperation with UNDP, and the innovative development thinking and global education for Chinese talent that such cooperation provides.
The Administrator was then hosted at Zhongnanhai where she met with Premier Li Keqiang. Premier Li said that as a founding member of the UN and member of the P5 group of countries, China would cooperate with UNDP to share its experiences in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. More broadly, he reaffirmed China’s commitment to multilateralism, and to environmental protection and economic progress built on a foundation of poverty reduction and sustainable development. The Administrator in turn congratulated China on its achievements in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and confirmed that UNDP would gear its forthcoming new strategic plans in China to match the priorities of the 13th Five Year Plan.
The next day began with a meeting at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, with Minister Chen Jining. The two parties discussed expanding UNDP work with MEP, particularly at local level, and strengthening existing cooperation under the Montreal Protocol, Global Environment Facility and potentially the new Green Climate Fund. The Administrator also reaffirmed UNDP’s support to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, an influential think-tank for the Government of China’s approach to environmental issues both domestically and in the Post-2015 Agenda.
The last engagement on the Administrator’s schedule was at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, with Vice Minister Gu Zhaoxi. There were two broad topics on the agenda: disaster management and civil society organisations. On the former, the Administrator expressed thanks for China’s response to the recent Nepal earthquake and was told that China would be willing to share its technical expertise in recovering from this disaster, as well as assisting with the implementation of the Sendai Framework. On the latter, Mr. Gu said he hoped that UNDP would continue to offer a channel for China to acquire global experience on civil society development. He was assured that this would be the case, and heard proposals for new cooperation to support civil society in China.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark was on an official mission to China from 3-5 May 2015.