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Statement by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yishan, at the 2nd Committee of the 58th Session of the General Assembly on Item 98: Implementation of the United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty
(9 October 2003)

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report submitted under this item. The report of the Secretary-General shows that since the beginning of the implementation of "the United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty", the world has seen some positive signs in the fight against poverty. However, progress is uneven across regions. The number of people living in extreme poverty continues to increase in the least developed countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, global problems caused by poverty continue to multiply. Facts prove that poverty is one of the major root causes of armed conflicts, terrorism, social upheavals, humanitarian crises and the spread of HIV/AIDS, thus constituting a serious threat to world peace and development. Therefore, poverty is the most daunting challenge facing the world today, and the eradication of poverty is thus our most pressing priority.

Mr. Chairman,

In recent years, the international community and the United Nations have made untiring efforts to eradicate poverty and to achieve development. All major UN conferences held in the last two years in the field of development, including the International Conference on Financing for Development (ICFD) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), listed poverty eradication as a key priority. The Millennium Development Goals contained in the Millennium Declaration have become an integrated set of goals to measure the level of development of various countries. But goals and plans for poverty eradication are not enough. The solution of the problem of poverty requires not only the efforts of the developing countries themselves, but, more importantly, the strong support and cooperation of the international community. Therefore, I would like to emphasize the following points:

1. The international community should take all necessary measures to create an international economic environment favorable to developing countries so as to help them to eradicate poverty and achieve development. The international community should effectively solve the problem of resources and speed up the implementation of the outcomes of the ICFD. Developed countries should make greater efforts in official development assistance, direct investment and debt relief. A fair and equitable international trade system should be established. This is of crucial importance to the eradication of poverty. The Cancun Conference taught us that the international trade system must reflect in a balanced way the concerns of all parties, including those of the developing countries.  In addition, the international community and developed countries should, through the transfer of technology and other means, strengthen the capacity building of the developing countries so as to improve their ability to develop themselves.

2. Developing countries should, in the light of their own national conditions, explore poverty eradication strategies and road of development which suit their own characteristics. All countries should shoulder the primary responsibility for their own development. Therefore, developing countries should incorporate poverty alleviation into their overall program of national economic and social development, set realistic goals of poverty alleviation and development  at various stages and gradually move from poverty eradication to development. At the same time, donor countries and international aid agencies should give importance to the recipient countries' ownership, so as to help them move along the road of development.

3. A comprehensive and multi-level partnership with national government taking the lead should be established and developed. Eradication of poverty is a multi-faceted undertaking in society and does not lend itself to any one-track approach. It requires the participation of the whole society and the cooperation of the international community. Therefore, all relevant departments and agencies in the UN system, all governments, non-governmental organizations and private sectors should establish a partnership, exchange experience, and strengthen cooperation as to solve more effectively the problem of poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

As the most populous developing country in the world, China's effort to eradicate poverty is not only conducive to its own economic development, but is also of important significance to world development. The Chinese government has always been devoted to economic development, poverty eradication and the improvement of the living standard of its people. Two decades into its reform and opening up, China is enjoying economic stability, rapid growth and markedly improved living standards. The problem of feeding and clothing over 900 million rural poor has been mostly solved. However, China is after all a low-income developing country with a population of 1.3 billion.  The base figure of people in poverty is large and the development across various regions is uneven. For the Chinese government, poverty alleviation is still a long-term and arduous task. Therefore, the Chinese government has formulated new poverty alleviation strategies in the light of our national conditions. We are determined to vigorously promote poverty alleviation and development, consolidate the achievements in poverty alleviation and help the remaining rural population who are still in poverty to solve as soon as possible the problem of food and clothing, and gradually live a fairly well-off life.

Summing up China's experience in poverty alleviation, we are of the view that what is most important is to follow a road of development that suits national conditions. We are ready to enhance our exchanges and cooperation with all countries so as to lift more people out of poverty and achieve common development.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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