Sustainable Development Discourses in China

  •  Berthold Kuhn    


The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The term sustainable development will further shape international cooperation in the next decade and beyond. It is also frequently used in China’s policy documents and connects well to a set of home-grown Chinese discourses, in particular the term of ecological civilisation and the chapter on green development in the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) approved in March 2016. This paper discusses Chinese discourses related to the promotion of sustainable development on the basis of interviews with experts – academics as well as practitioners. The hybrid character of the concept of sustainable development has been conducive to its growing relevance in China. The Chinese government, however, has also paid attention to balancing the use of the term at the level of policy formulation by promoting home-grown discourses, in particular the concept of ecological civilisation.

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