Press Releases

    SG/SM/9532
          ENV/DEV/795
          13 October 2004

    Balanced Development Possible Today, Need Not Wait for Tomorrow’s Scientific Breakthroughs, Secretary-General Says During Visit to Beijing Eco-Village

    NEW YORK, 12 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks delivered by Secretary-General Kofi Annan during a visit to Liuminying Eco-Village in Zhangziying Township, Daxing District, Beijing, on 12 October:

    Thank you for this very warm welcome. I have heard a great deal about the many different ways you are trying to make this world a better place.  So I am glad to have an opportunity to see this eco-village for myself.

    Indeed, no matter how much is said or promised at world conferences on the global environment and sustainable development, ultimately it is in villages and communities around the world that the real changes have to happen.  That is why this eco-village, and the others like it elsewhere in China, are so important.

    You are enabling people to build sustainable livelihoods. You are helping China achieve its own vision of Xiaokang, the balanced, well-rounded society. And you are finding new ways to balance economic growth and the environment, offering lessons not just for China but for all of us. That is why, as long ago as 1987, the head of this eco-farm was put on the UN Environment Programme’s “Global 500” list for his innovative work with biogas and solar energy.

    We all face the challenge of fighting air and water pollution, protecting finite resources, and improving on the development path the world has followed to date. We all must do better at living in harmony with nature, and learning how to grow today without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The good news is that balanced development is possible, and need not wait for tomorrow’s scientific breakthroughs. Green technologies, renewable sources of energy and other alternative solutions are available today and can begin to do the job.

    Thank you for your hard work, for your dedication to this cause, and for this real contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Let me assure you that the United Nations system is with you.  We, too, will do our part.

    Thank you again for your hospitality.  I am pleased that we are accompanied today by a group of distinguished Chinese and foreign experts on the environment.  We all very much look forward to what I am sure will be a memorable walking tour -- a glimpse, perhaps, of our sustainable future.

    * *** *