Poverty is an opportunity to grow: Changhua Wu on UN SDGs

Reading time: 5 minutes
20 September 2015

Tomorrow Climate Week NYC, which was launched in 2009 by The Climate Group, begins. Host to more than 100 affiliate events across the city from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Here, Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, writes about the importance of integrating sustainable development and economic growth in China and the rest of the world.

The world's opinion is shifting around poverty - and poverty alleviation - following a time when all minds have been fixated on how to lead our economy out of recession.

Because now we can see poverty alleviation as a new opportunity to grow. 

The UN language around Sustainable Development Goals is leading this new tone. And so is everyone else in the development sector. A new round of competition has started, where addressing poverty in the developing world has become a new game to play in creating new growth opportunities. 

Energy, water, food, infrastructure, transportation, logistics; you name it. In nearly every area, the least developed countries today can enjoy a development opportunity that has never been seen before. While there is obviously still many hurdles to addressing global poverty, the UN goal to address poverty is expected to be on track even before the movement has started.

China's rapid economic growth has been applauded as an economic miracle in lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. And yet we have built too fast and now bear the consequences of over-supply of almost every sector.

So where are the growth opportunities for China? 

At the domestic level, things have accelerated in 2015. Earlier this year at the National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang launched ‘Internet+ Strategy’, a scheme to transform China’s economy by focusing on online start-up companies and applying digital technology to traditional sectors.

Some have said the initiative has the potential to innovate the country’s infrastructure to such an extent it represents a ‘third Industrial Revolution’. While it may have missed the first two revolutions, China certainly won’t miss the third.

And on a global level, China is actively advocating South-South Cooperation, to charter a new course of development in other developing countries. Taking responsibility of being the largest developing country, China is also using this collaborative work as an opportunity to grow, so a more globalized China can better find its role in global economy.

China has also been pushing its One Road One Belt initiative, shoring money into the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank among others to create a network of roads, railway lines and energy infrastructure, which has the potential to exted to Europe and South East Asia via the Silk Road Economic Belt.

With this initiative among others put in place, China is well positioned to become a more constructive partner for other countries in the wider development agenda.

Through all of these dynamics globally and regionally, I see signs of hope. But where the hope is mostly clearly embedded, is in a clean energy revolution.

If we scale up clean energy in developing countries we can help these emerging economies avoid high-carbon lock-in. Building an integrated, smart infrastructure that forms the foundation for the ‘third Industrial Revolution’ will increase energy and cost efficiency dramatically, as the revolution is built upon life cycle of materials.

But most importantly, people in developing countries today have a better chance to participate in this new economic development – and secure access to better quality of life for themselves and their families.

This is the sort of global economic growth we should all be most excited about.

#CWNYC 2015

Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception.

Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Climate Week NYC 2015 is supported by BT Group, Siemens, Procter & Gamble, Nike, SkyPower, SolarCity, CBRE Group, and Bank of the West - BNP Paribas; and the We Mean Business coalition members: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and WBCSD.

ClimateWeekNYC.org | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon