United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Please Check Against Delivery.
Statement by H. E. Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Deputy Permanent
Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Intergovernmental
Preparatory Meeting for the CSD13 on Human Settlements
(3 March 2005, New York,)
Mr. Chairman,
The International community has made long-term efforts to achieve the goals
in the area of human settlements. The Special Session of the General Assembly on
Human settlements and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) both
reaffirmed the goals and consensus of "adequate shelter for all" and "sustainable
human settlements" . The reality, however, is a cause of serious concern to us all, with
over 924 million people still living in slums across the world, accounting for 32% of
the total urban population in the world. If no resolute actions will be taken, it is
estimated that the total number of slum dwellers would rise to 2 billion over the next
30 years, almost all of whom would be in the developing countries.
The major obstacle to the achievement of the goals of human settlements lies
in the lack of financial resources and capacity in the developing countries. Economic
development and poverty eradication, therefore, should provide a fundamental
solution to the problem. To achieve the goals in this area, countries should adopt
appropriate policies, strategies and plans suitable to their respective national
conditions, and Governments should play a lead role while encouraging active
participation from all relevant stakeholders. Meanwhile, efforts should be made to
strengthen international cooperation and exchanges, help the developing countries
mobilize financial resources and enhance capacity building at all levels from the
central government down to local institutions.
Mr. Chairman,
The Chinese Government has accorded top priority to housing development
and the improvement of the environment of human settlements in its national
economic development endeavor and adopted robust measures to achieve the goals in
the field of human settlements. China started by tackling the problem at its source,
adheres to the principle of addressing both the root cause and the symptoms of the
problem and pays great attention to maximizing the role of its human settlements
partners. As a result, our urban and rural development as well as human settlements
environment have undergone fundamental changes. The per capita housing footage in
China has registered a significant increase. At present, China' s per capita housing
footage in cites and towns is 23.7 square meters, and in rural areas is 27.2 square
meters. In the mean time, the integrated functions of residential dwellings in China
have also improved considerably. China has by and large established a residential
housing market system that is in keeping with China' s specific situation. Chinese
people' s house purchasing power has risen by a large margin. In our energetic
pursuit of an urbanization strategy specially tailored to the Chinese characteristics, we
have stepped up urban and rural planning and upgraded urban development. Effective
efforts have been made to transform and regenerate the old quarters in cities and
towns. Through increased investment, we have succeeded in turning infrastructure
construction into a new frontier of economic development, made great strides in the
development of urban infrastructure and multiplied the cities' functions for
delivering integrated services. By attaching great importance to urban sewage
management and environment protection and promoting urban greening development,
we have visibly improved the quality of our residential and overall urban environment.
The Chinese Government is vigorously promoting efforts to continuously intensify
the restructuring of the urban development and environmental management system
and has, through governance by law, further improved and perfected a whole array of
legislation and regulations governing the development and management of residential
areas. We have set up working mechanisms for urban disaster prevention and
reduction and formulated effective guidelines which combine disaster preparedness
with the building of an ecologically-sound environment.
Mr. Chairman,
As a developing country, China still faces many outstanding difficulties in the
area of human settlements. We will seriously address these problems and challenges
by actively drawing upon the relevant experience and lessons of other countries. We
will also further strengthen our cooperation with other parties in the fields of
mobilizing financial resources, bringing in foreign technologies and strengthening
capacity building.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.