China and a group of more than 30 countries on Wednesday called for people-centered development that ensures development gains are enjoyed on a larger scale and in a more equitable way.
This would especially help those in vulnerable and marginalized situations to have equal access to basic rights such as education, health care, housing and decent jobs, Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva, said in a joint statement delivered at the ongoing 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Improved basic rights would in turn lead to higher-quality development that is more efficient, equitable, sustainable and secure, Chen said.
"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic reverses global development gains, hinders the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and exacerbates inequalities within and among countries," the joint statement said.
"We call on all parties to enhance global solidarity and take inclusive measures to combat the pandemic, advance post-pandemic recovery, and ensure equitable access to vaccines and medicines," it added.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda should, while taking into account differing national realities, capacities and levels of development, and respecting national policies and priorities, continue to be a priority on the international cooperation agenda, the statement said. Efforts should be made to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals on schedule.
Developed countries should take more practical measures, it added, and international financial institutions should avoid austerity policies which impede economic, social and cultural rights.
The joint statement also called on the UN Human Rights Mechanisms to put more emphasis on the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights, the elimination of inequalities, and to provide effective assistance upon consent of countries concerned.
At the same time, the statement said, the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Human Rights Office should protect the rights of all countries to choose their own development paths. They should also oppose interference in other countries' internal affairs, unilateral sanctions without basis in international law, and the politicization and marginalization of the development issue.
(Cover: File photo of Chen Xu. /China's Foreign Ministry)