|Statement by Counselor Yao Shaojun on Agenda Item 26: Social Development at the Third Committee of the 69th Session of The United Nations General Assembly|
Please allow me to begin by congratulating you on your election as Chair of the Third Committee of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. The Chinese delegation will cooperate fully with you and the bureau in support of your work. We are convinced that under your leadership, this session will be a full success. The Chinese delegation welcomes the Secretary General’s reports submitted under this agenda item and associates itself with the statement made by Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. China would like to make the following observations:
Firstly, promotion of economic development is the basis for resolving social issues. Only through promotion of economic development, is it possible to eradicate poverty, improve people’s wellbeing, solve the unemployment issue, and achieve social harmony. And only the right social policies can lead to inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development. All member states must continue to implement the outcome document of the World Summit for Social Development, and make economic development the driving force for a balanced advancement of economic, social, and environmental causes, so that everyone can enjoy the fruits of development. The international community must attach greater importance to eliminating inequalities among countries, increase assistance to developing countries, and build an enabling environment for the joint development of all countries.
Secondly, effective protection and improvement of people’s wellbeing constitute the starting point as well as the goal of efforts for resolving social issues. As an old Chinese saying goes, “The people make up the foundation of a country, and only when the foundation is solid will peace prevail throughout the land.” Each member state must strive to ensure decent living for its entire population and continuously raise their living standards and the quality of their lives. All countries must deepen their social reforms, promote employment, bring to perfection their systems of education, health, housing, social security and other public services, and ensure full public participation in relevant decision-making processes. Efforts must be made to expand the protection of vulnerable groups, promote the equal participation of persons with disabilities in social life, incorporate the ageing issue into the comprehensive economic and social development plan, guide the youth to make active contributions to social development and progress, play the fundamental role of the family in social development, and promote social cohesion.
Thirdly, education is an important “engine” for resolving social issues. Education is of crucial importance in enhancing national quality, advancing economic and social development, and raising living standards. It is an unshirkable duty of every government to guarantee each person’s right to education, to offer men, women, and children equal opportunities at all levels of education, eliminate illiteracy, and enhance vocational training and life-long learning. China supports the inclusion of “Literacy for life: shaping future agendas” as a sub-item under the item “Social Development” on the agenda of our Committee and the inclusion of the issues of education and literacy in the post-2015 development agenda.
Fourthly, the post-2015 development agenda provides an important opportunity for resolving social issues. The post-2015 development agenda must continue to address challenges and thorny problems in the social area and reach three major goals: 1) Improve people’s wellbeing by focusing on eradicating poverty and promoting development; 2) Enhance inclusiveness and safeguard social fairness and justice; 3) Focus on implementation, and under the principles of diversity of development models as well as “common but differentiated responsibilities” and so on, strengthen global development partnerships and improve means and mechanisms of implementation.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to social development. We have achieved significant progress in effectively ensuring and improving our people’s wellbeing and promoting social fairness and justice. In 2013 alone, there was a record increase of 13.1 million new jobs in cities and towns throughout China, reaching a historical high. The per capita disposable income in cities and towns increased by 7%. The number of rural people living in poverty was reduced by 16.5 million. The urban and rural minimum subsistence allowances were raised by 13.1% and 17.7% respectively. 6.6 million units of government-subsidized housing were built. We have also launched the project of alleviating poverty in the area of education, and 32 million rural children have benefited from this project. We have deepened reforms of our medical and healthcare system, and our basic medical insurance system has achieved universal coverage. We have improved our social administration to ensure public participation, in a variety of ways, in decision making, so as to maintain social harmony and stability. The Chinese government will continue to deepen reforms and use them as a strong driving force for the effective promotion of our social causes in order to fulfill the fundamental goal of improving our people’s wellbeing.
As pointed out in the Secretary General’s report, “investments in public health service” is of great importance to social development. Good health increases “the chances of obtaining decent work” and enables wider participation in society. At present, Ebola epidemics is ravaging several West African countries and seriously undermining their social development. As their good brother and good partner sharing their weal and woe, China stands firmly with the governments and peoples of these countries. China has dispatched, in succession, nearly 200 medical workers on the ground to combat hand in hand with the local people in the forefront against Ebola. As soon as we learned about the Ebola outbreak, we sent shipments of medicine, personal protection kits, and medical equipment to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau for the prevention, control, and treatment of the disease. In August, China again sent by chartered aircraft medical supplies worth 30 million RMB to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Recently, China further decided to provide emergency assistance in cash, food and materials worth 200 million RMB to the affected African countries, and 2 million US dollars cash assistance to the WHO and the African Union respectively. The two groups of mobile bio-safety labs that China sent to Sierra Leone are already in operation, and more than 30 Chinese medical workers and 20 epidemiologists are hard at work in the labs, conducting tests and keeping suspected patients under medical observation. China will actively participate in other international assistance efforts and stand ready to give priority to health cooperation under the framework of China-Africa Cooperation Forum, and help African countries improve their disease prevention and control systems.
Thank you, Madam Chair.