|Statement by BAI Yongjie, Counselor of the Chinese Mission under Item 57: Eradication of Poverty and Other Development Issues|
The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports on this item, and associates itself with the statement made by South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
I would like to first comment on Item 57 (a): Implementation of the First UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006).
Freedom from poverty and want is an objective towards which mankind has been striving for generations. In this last year of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, it is of special significance for us to review past achievements and look forward to the future.
The past decade has witnessed unprecedented efforts on the part of the international community for poverty eradication. Formulating and implementing poverty reduction strategies have become a joint endeavor involving governments, civil society and international organizations. As the number one MDG, poverty eradication has attracted attention of all sectors of the society. Large amount of financial inputs and action initiatives have been made with the aim of helping the poor population. This massive mobilization has created a strong momentum, which has lifted many poor people out of poverty into decent life. This is the result of hard work by all sides, which is worthy of commendation.
It is equally worthy of our attention, however, that in today's world with continuous technological progress and huge accumulation of wealth, the gap between the rich and the poor and between North and South keeps widening and hunger and poverty still run amuck in many developing countries. Currently, a total of one billion people worldwide still live in abject poverty. Each year, more than five million children die of hunger and malnutrition. According to the most optimistic estimate, at the current pace of poverty reduction, by 2015, the world population living in abject poverty can only be reduced to 735 million, which falls short of the MDG of halving that population.
Experience of the past decade has taught us the following:
First, poverty eradication is a long-term challenge. Poverty has deep historical and social causes and various kinds of manifestations. As such, it cannot be eradicated within a short period of time. We should all regard poverty eradication as a long-term task and make unremitting efforts to that end. It is precisely because of this that we believe that it is necessary to take stock of our work in the first decade, draw necessary lessons, and on the basis of that and bearing in mind the MDGs, declare the second decade for the eradication of poverty in order to maintain unflagging attention and enthusiasm of all parties and achieve practical results.
Second, economic development should be at the core of the efforts in poverty eradication. Ultimately, the eradication of poverty is conditioned on economic development. Only when the economy keeps growing can the vitality of the whole society be maintained and precious financial resources and employment opportunities be forthcoming so as to help the poor and vulnerable lift themselves out of their predicament. With their low level of economic development and weak economic foundation, the developing countries are where poverty eradication efforts should focus on and where it is difficult for such efforts to produce results. The international community, the developed countries in particular, should pay more attention to the special difficulties of these countries, fulfill as early as possible commitments made in areas like financial assistance, technological transfer, debt relief and market access, in order to create a favorable external environment for the economic growth of the developing countries.
Third, poverty eradication requires comprehensive and integrated policies. Poverty eradication is a system-wide endeavor. We have learned from experience that single-minded pursuit of economic expansion in disregard of social equity and welfare of the people will increase the polarization between the rich and the poor and exacerbate the plight of the poor. Therefore, while maintaining steady economic growth, it is necessary to formulate policies that are favorable to the poor to ensure that they get their fair share of the benefits of development. Efforts of poverty reduction and development should be carried out in conjunction with the development of science, education and public health so as to improve the integrated quality of the poor population and address the problem of poverty in all dimensions.
Fourth, poverty eradication requires broad mobilization of all social forces. Since the eradication of poverty is the common responsibility of the whole society, governmental departments should form partnership with the private sector and civil society, a partnership in which each brings into full play of its advantage in performing its own function and all partners cooperate with each other. Efforts are needed to mobilize more resources, create innovative mechanisms and take all kinds of vigorous measures to instill life and vitality into the cause of poverty reduction.
As the largest developing country, China has taken an active part in the global cause of poverty reduction. In recent years, the Chinese government has achieved significant results in promoting economic growth and improving the living standard of its people. Staring from the 1980s, the Chinese government has implemented in a sustained manner effective plans for poverty reduction and development on an extensive scale. As a result, more than 200 million people in rural areas have got adequate food and clothing. By the end of 2005, the total number of the poor population in my country decreased to 23.65 million. Although China has achieved such remarkable progress, it is still faced with acute problems of low per capita income and imbalance in development, which makes it very difficult for us to realize poverty eradication. Currently, China is devoting itself to building a society in which all of our people can live a comfortable life. Such a society will be people-centered and will embody fairness and harmony, so as to ensure that the wealth created through reform and development can be enjoyed by all the people. We are confident that our policies and measure to this end will push our poverty eradication work forward and help us meet the basic needs of all of our people living in poverty as early as possible.
China participates actively in the global cause of poverty eradication. In May last year, The Chinese government and the UNDP jointly initiated and established the International Poverty Reduction Center in China, which has as its aims advocating innovative idea in poverty reduction, promoting policy transformation, strengthening international exchanges and facilitating South-South cooperation. Currntly, the Center has already started operation. The Chinese government is willing to share our experience in poverty reduction with other countries of the world, engage in practical, effective and mutually beneficial cooperation and make now contributions to the realization of the goal of eradicating poverty in the world.
Now I'd like to make some comments on Item 57 (b): Cooperation in Industrial Development.
Industrial development is a strong engine for poverty eradication and sustained economic growth of the developing countries and countries in transition. Enhancing the productive capacity of enterprises, creating opportunities for productive employment, removing regulatory obstacles and increasing export and market competitiveness, these are important factors contributing to sustainable development, whereas disseminating technologies to the developing countries and countries in transition by means of training and productive activities is an effective way to build up their capacity. The Chinese delegation supports UNIDO in formulating targeted cooperation strategies and assistance programs in light of the development priorities and specific situations of different countries and regions. We appreciate UNIDO's practice of integrating into development strategies elements of improving energy efficiency and environmental protection as important component parts of sustainable industrial development. My delegation believes that it is right and proper for UNIDO to set as its operational priorities enhancement of the productivity of enterprises, improvement of trading capacity and increase of energy efficiency. We hope that UNIDO will further strengthen the South-South cooperation in the field of industrial development, continue to develop the "new partnership" with African countries, and play a more active role in promoting the effective participation in the global economy by the developing countries, and helping them to benefit more from trade, investment and technological cooperation among themselves.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.