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Closing Remarks by H.E. REN Yisheng, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia at the First National Conference on the Right to Development
2022-06-01 00:31


Hon. Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah, Minister of Health of the Republic of Liberia,

Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, Minister of Internal Affairs,

Hon. Cllr. T. Dempster Brown, Chairman of the Independent National Commission of Human Right in Liberia,

Distinguished development superintendents of Liberian counties,

Distinguished Dr. Uchenna Emelonye, Representative of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Liberia,

Distinguished Colleagues from the diplomatic corps,

Representatives of Liberia development institutions, civil society organizations and the media,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Good afternoon! With the joint efforts of all the delegates, the first National Conference on the Right to Development(RTD) in Liberia, co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Liberia and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right(OHCHR) Liberia Country Office, has successfully completed all agenda items and is coming to an end.

More than 100 representatives of Chinese and Liberian government officials, experts and scholars, diplomatic corps, UN agencies and international organizations, human right experts, and business elites have conducted extensive and in-depth discussions on the theme of RTD. Many guests including the Special Representative of H.E. Vice President Taylor, Internal Minister Sirleaf and other Liberian government officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps, UN human rights experts, Special Representative for Human Rights Ms. LI Xiaomei, Professor Dr. HU Biliang, all shared their respective visions on the significance of the RTD and ways of achieving it, as well as the pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa, China and Liberia. The new ideas and new methods brought about by the guests are enlightening and feasible, and thus will play an important role in promoting the RTD, the economic and social development of Liberia and Africa and international cooperation. We believe that this conference has achieved the anticipated goals of understanding the concept of RTD, cementing friendship, seeking cooperation and sharing benefits, and is a complete success. During the past two days, guests have exchanged views and built consensus as follows:

The first is to raise awareness of the importance of realizing the rights to subsistence and development. Poverty is the biggest obstacle to the realization of human rights, and development is not only a means to eradicate poverty, but also provides conditions for the realization of other human rights, and is also a process for people to realize their potential. Subsistence is the premise and foundation of development, and development is for a higher level, more decent and more dignified subsistence. In developing countries, Africa including Liberia in particular, if the issues of the rights to subsistence and development are not basically resolved, other human rights such as democracy and freedom cannot be well realized.

The second is to adhere to the philosophy of placing equal emphasis on development and security. Peace and security are conditions for development, and development is the foundation of security. A tree cannot grow tall or bear fruit in a barren land torn apart by the flames of war. Although the Covid-19 epidemic continues to ravage the world and the crisis in Ukraine has intensified, peace and development are still the themes of the times, and the pursuit of peace, development and cooperation is the aspiration of the people. The international community should firmly safeguard world peace and security, create favorable conditions for the realization of the rights to subsistence and development, and promote sustainable security through sustainable development.

The third is to respect cultural diversity. The international community should respect the right of each country to proceed from its own history and based on its reality and improve the protection level of people's rights to subsistence and development, and to take a human rights development path that suits its own national conditions. All countries should actively conduct dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights on the basis of equality and mutual respect, strengthen capacity building, and abandon the wrong practice of politicizing human rights issues and applying double standards on human rights issues.

The fourth is to adhere to win-win cooperation and strive to promote the common development of all countries. All countries should focus on the theme of development, actively carry out pragmatic cooperation in economy, trade, energy, science and technology, etc., raise living standards, close the wealth gap and promote common prosperity, and make more development achievements better benefit the people of all countries. We should strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, actively promote the reform of global economic governance, maintain an open world economic system, and jointly respond to world economic risks and challenges. All countries should replace the old thinking of zero-sum game and “winners take all” with a new approach of win-win and all-win, combine the pursuit of self-interest with taking into account the interests of others, and link the promotion of national development with the promotion of common development.

The fifth is the international community should vigorously promote the realization of the RTD in Africa. Due to historical reasons, African countries are facing many difficulties and challenges in terms of economic and social development, and are more vulnerable to global risks and challenges. The international community should further build consensus and strengthen cooperation to help African countries to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, promote the development of infrastructure, smart city, economy, agriculture, education, tourism, eradicate poverty, and achieve the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) and AU Agenda 2063, so as to secure the long-term peace, prosperity and stability of Africa.

The sixth is to accelerate the realization of the RTD in Liberia. Liberia has an advantageous geographical location and is rich in natural resources such as minerals, forests, arable land and water conservancy. It has sufficient labor force and huge development potential. The international community should further dock the SDG with Liberia's "Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development"(PAPD), strengthen international and regional cooperation, and help Liberia improve its infrastructure, create a more favorable businesses climate, overcome the Covid pandemic, and promote the steady economic development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China-Africa and China-Liberia are good friends, good brothers and good partners. The two sides have mutual complementary advantages in terms of industrialization, infrastructure, agricultural modernization, green development and other fields, and are natural partners. Entering into the new era, China will continue to uphold the foreign policy of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith as well as the right approach to justice and interests, adhere to the silk-road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, and integrate the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), the Global Development Initiative(GSI), the Global Security Initiative(GDI) closely with AU Agenda 2063 and PAPD, actively implement the "Nine Programs" of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, deeply integrate China's development with that of Africa including Liberia, and steadily promote a great framework of China-Africa cooperation, build a China-Africa mutual connectivity cooperation mechanism, and promote the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On the occasion of closing the conference and on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Liberia, I would like to express my gratitude to all the distinguished guests for their active participation and contributions. Thank you all to the media friends for their active coverage of the event. Thank you to Mr. Uchenna Emelonye and the staff of the OHCHR for the great efforts made for the smooth convening of the conference. Thank you to the conference staff and volunteers for their hard work. China will continue to strengthen cooperation with other countries, UN agencies and international organizations including OHCHR to promote the all-round development of countries in the sub-region.

In conclusion, I would like to wish the friendship between China-Africa and China-Liberia last forever. I wish all participants success in your endeavors. And I wish the guests from afar a safe journey back!

Thank you all!

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