United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Remarks by Mr. Sun Chengyong
Head of Delegation
Ministry of Science and Technology, China
the 2nd Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development
May 15-16, 2017

As important means of implementation for sustainable development, science, technology and innovation are playing an increasingly significant role in eradicating poverty and hunger, improving public health and responding to climate change. As such, STI should be incorporated in all areas of sustainable development and throughout the process of achieving the SDGs.
The launching of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism will help enhance the role of STI in advancing sustainable development. We expect that the Multi Stakeholder Forum, as an important component part of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, will play an important role in facilitating global cooperation in the field of science and technology, especially serving as a bridge and platform to help developing countries improve their STI capacity and expedite the transfer and dissemination of environment friendly technologies.
China attaches great importance to leveraging STI to achieve sustainable development. Since China’s National Strategy for Innovation Driven Development was issued in May last year, efforts have been made to comprehensively implement the Strategy, and a series of breakthroughs have been achieved with remarkable results. Thanks to these efforts, China’s STI capacity has been further enhanced with multiple major achievements. STI has been integrated in our overall economic and social development, adding new driving forces and playing a markedly greater role in supporting and leading the supply side structural reform. Mass entrepreneurship and innovation have flourished and the whole society is mobilized at an unprecedented scale to support and participate in innovation. The main structure of ST system reform has been basically put in place. Substantive breakthrough has been achieved in priority areas such as policies encouraging innovation by enterprises, management of program funding, practical application of ST research results, and regime for income distribution. The sense of accomplishment of ST personnel was greatly heightened and China’s STI rating in the world has risen. In 2016, R&D expenditure of the whole society was estimated to have reached 1.544 trillion RMB yuan---2.1% of our GDP-- -over 78% of which was by enterprises. The total worth of technology related contracts concluded in 2016 reached 1.1407 trillion RMB yuan and science and technology contributed to 56.2% of our national development. In sum, significant progress has been achieved in the building of an innovative country.
In order to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, China has taken a series of pragmatic innovation initiatives mainly in the following four aspects:
One. Combine the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with the formulation and implementation of national STI plan. We have incorporated ST related needs in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda into our national STI plan within the framework of the 13th Five Year Plan, and formulated a National Plan of STI for Social Development. This plan is based on the strategic need of improving people’s livelihood, upgrading industry, ensuring national security and realizing sustainable development. It focuses on technologies in the areas of biology, health, marine development and conservation, qualitative improvement of ecological environment, effective development and utilization of resources, response to climate change, disaster prevention and reduction, new type of urbanization, pubic security, and culture and sports. It aims at strengthening the systemic planning of basic science research and common core technology research. It prioritizes primary innovation and disruptive innovation with a view to building a technology system that is advanced, pragmatic, autonomous, well regulated and suitable to our national conditions, thus providing staunch ST support to the building of a healthy, beautiful and secure China. In connection with the priority areas identified by the 2030 Agenda, China has launched a series of STI R&D projects in such areas as food productivity, causes and control of atmospheric pollution, effective development and utilization of water resources, restoration and protection of fragile ecological system, green construction and architectural industrialization.
Two. Formulate a National Program of Action of ST for Poverty Reduction. After the issuance of the “opinion on using science and technology to reduce poverty and taking targeted measures to lift people out of poverty”, seven governmental departments, including the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Office for Poverty Reduction of the State Council, jointly issued in October 2016 the Program of Action on Science and Technology for Poverty Reduction. In view of the acute need in poor areas for human and technological resources and for registration and archiving of people living in poverty, the Program provided for activities like the dissemination and application of advanced and suitable technologies and publicity campaigns to popularize science, thus enabling the 700,000-plus ST personnel dispatched to poor areas to effectively facilitate the development of the businesses in which those areas enjoy unique advantages. This is a way of reducing poverty via entrepreneurship by enhancing the productive skills of poor people in rural areas and increasing the “blood generating” capacity of poor areas. The purpose of the Program is to markedly increase ST service to poor areas, scale up regional poverty reduction endeavors, and greatly raise the scientific, technological and cultural level of the people living in poverty, with a view to providing ST support to the effort of lifting everyone out of poverty by 2020 and creating a new model of innovation driven development for poor areas.
Three. Create innovation demonstration zones for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Last December, China’s State Council issued a program of building innovation demonstration zones for implementing the 2030 Agenda, which announced the establishment of innovation demonstration zones for implementing the 2030 Agenda on the basis of the existing national experimental zones for sustainable development. The idea is to set the realization of the 2030 Agenda as the central goal, concentrate on implementing the strategy of innovation-driven development, aim at breaking the key bottlenecks constraining China’s sustainable development, combine all types of innovation resources, enhance the practical application of ST results, and explore and optimize institutional mechanisms, with a view to creating real life models for realizing sustainable development that can be replicated and popularized. Such models will have a demonstrative and leading effect on efforts to achieve sustainable development by other regions of our own country, and will offer China’s experience to other countries as they strive to realize sustainable development. Governments at regional level have responded actively to the idea of building innovation demonstration zones and many provinces including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Guangxi, Liaoning, Hunan and Inner Mongolia have applied for the opportunity of establishing such zones with themes ranging from transformation and development of old industrial bases to water pollution and environmental governance for water, health and health preservation, ecological agriculture, inheritance and continuation of the cultures of ethnic minorities, etc. At present, the screening of the first innovation demonstration zones is going on and the chosen candidates will be submitted to the State Council in the second half of this year for approval.
Four. Build a bank of green technologies for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Shanghai Municipal Government are jointly building a bank of green technologies. This bank embraces internationalization, market-orientation and professionalism. It has three goals: first, as support for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, promote the practical utilization of advanced and applicable technologies in priority areas of sustainable development such as responding to climate change, saving energy, protecting environment and improving life and health; second, build a platform for the integration of science and technology with financial capital and speed up the industry-scale application of ST results; third, gather innovations in the area of green technology from all over the world to help build Shanghai into a global STI center. As of now, the platforms for green technology information, transformation and finance are basically in place; stations for collecting green technologies have been launched in Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing; and the first batch of pilot projects are being developed.
China has always paid great attention to international cooperation in science and technology. In recent years, China has launched a series of ST partnership plans through bilateral and multilateral channels to share with other developing countries our experience and achievements in ST for development in such areas as renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. China will vigorously support and actively take part in the work of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism. We are ready to engage in exchanges and cooperation with other countries in STI as well as in the establishment of innovation demonstration zones for implementing the 2030 Agenda and the building of banks of green technologies, thus contributing to our joint effort to promote sustainable development at the global level.