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Taiwan, a Valuable Partner for SDGs - True Universality
September 12, 2017, 11:41 am

"As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind," reads the preamble to 'Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' — the global pact that was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September, 2015. The 2030 Agenda, which was signed by global leaders at their historic UN 2015 Summit, has often been labeled as a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. Yet, even before ink on the signed Agenda had dried, there are moves to deny participation in this new global plan of action to the 23 million people of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Below is a letter from His Excellency Dr. David Tawei Lee, PhD, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) on why Taiwan has to be a part of SDG.

New York is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and is the base the Headquarters of the United Nations. Regrettably, more and more visitors from Taiwan find themselves being turned away from the UN grounds, discriminated against simply because of their country of origin. The UN is about people, yet the universality of human rights that the UN proclaims does not extend to Taiwan and its 23 million people. Holders of ROC passports enjoy visa-free travel or other forms of travel convenience to 165 countries and territories.

Yet, they are unable to take even a single step inside the Headquarters of the UN. Representatives from Taiwan’s many nongovernmental organizations involved in indigenous, labor, environmental and women’s rights have been barred from attending meetings and conferences held at the UN. Moreover, Taiwanese journalists are not allowed to cover UN meetings in person. In May of this year, Taiwan was refused attendance at the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA), despite having participated as an observer over the previous eight consecutive years. Rejecting Taiwan, runs counter to common sense, and creates a blind spot in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) operations, just like the one that cost our people lives during the 2003 SARS epidemic.

As the world’s 18th largest trading and 11th freest economy, Taiwan has brought its laws and regulations into line with the UN’s human rights conventions, and in terms of living up to democratic values. The Taiwanese people elected their country’s first female president in 2016, and 38 percent of their lawmakers are women.

Taiwan is also home to a vibrant civil society, whenever disasters strike, rescue workers from Taiwan’s nongovernmental organizations are right there on the ground, providing assistance.

Taiwan has worked alongside a host of other countries to fight such infectious diseases as MERS, Ebola and Zika. We have also been promoting a green economy and green energy, aiming to raise the proportion of renewable energy generated for the country’s power supply to 20 percent by 2025.

Taiwan is currently working on its first Voluntary National Review, which will document many of its concrete achievements regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Taiwan strongly believes that its involvement, especially when the UN is calling for the universal implementation of the SDGs, would be to the benefit of all. Taiwan can do much to help the world build a more sustainable future. We need the international community to support our aspirations and our right to fair treatment by the UN. At the very least, we want the UN to stop turning us away at the door.

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