Taiwan is committed to joining hands with global partners to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to forge the world we want, and the future we need.
The SDGs form a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future, aiming to guide the world down a sustainable and resilient path with “no one left behind.” In the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed again the pressing need to accelerate relevant actions. Likewise, he called on nations to advance the “Inclusion Imperative” because “development is not sustainable if it is not fair and inclusive.”
The principles of inclusiveness and leaving no one behind are key to realizing the SDGs. Taiwan, a full-fledged democracy, has made considerable progress in fulfilling the SDGs and has provided assistance to countries in need. Taiwan is willing and ready to share its success story and contribute further to the collective effort to achieve the SDGs.
After many years of effort, Taiwan has made great strides in alleviating poverty and achieving zero hunger. Our percentage of low-income households has been reduced to 1.6 percent. Launched in 1993, the National Health Insurance program now covers 99.8 percent of the population. In 2018, our waste recycling rate reached 55.69 percent, our literacy rate 98.8 percent, and our infant mortality rate 4.2 per 1,000. These figures far surpass SDG standards. The government of Taiwan has further identified six major areas of interest with respect to the SDGs: smart water management, sustainable energy transformation, clean air, sustainable materials management and the circular economy, ecological conservation and green networks, and international partnerships. These areas complement the main theme of the UN High-Level Political Forum 2018, the SDGs, and the 5Ps — people, planet, peace, prosperity, and partnership — referred to in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In recent years, Taiwan has been providing development assistance to and engaging in cooperation programs with partner countries in the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2018 alone, Taiwan conducted development projects in SDG areas of interest in 39 countries. We will continue to track international trends and the needs of partner countries to ensure that all operations are aligned with the SDGs.
A truly inclusive UN would not leave anyone behind. Today, however, Taiwan passport holders are blocked from entering UN premises for public visits and meetings. Taiwanese journalists and media outlets are also denied accreditation to cover UN meetings. These practices are unjust and contravene the principle of universality upon which the UN was founded. Considering Taiwan’s robust experience and contributions, it is extremely important for the United Nations to take actions so Taiwan can share its experience and critical information with all countries and peoples.
Efforts to fulfill the purpose of achieving international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, as stated in Article 1 of the UN Charter, will also be impaired. If the host of nations is serious about promoting inclusion and making development sustainable for all, it should open its doors to Taiwan.
Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs