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Statement of the Chinese Delegation At the Third Committee of the 55th Session of the UN General Assembly On Women-related Issues (Items 107 & 108)

2003/10/15

Madame Chairperson,

Women always play an essential role in the existence, development and progress of human society. The realization of gender equality also remains the goal for which women of the world have been striving unremittingly. On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women this past June, the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Women was held in New York. The Special Session assembled government representatives from various countries and regions as well as a large number of NGO representatives here in the United Nations for a comprehensive review and consideration of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action over the past five years and for summing up successful experience. More importantly, they identified the obstacles to be overcome through further efforts. Despite the different historical backgrounds, levels of economic development and cultural traditions in their respective countries, the delegates displayed maximum flexibility and, after arduous consultations and on the basis of consensus, drew up a document entitled Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Special Session will be entered in the annals of history as another landmark in the advancement of women around the world.

As mankind stand at the threshold of the new millennium, the question as to how to take the actions and initiatives as agreed at the Special Session and effectively fulfill all the equal rights for women, who account for half of the world population, is a central issue of common concern to all countries in the years to come. Over the past five years, poverty, which has been besetting the developing countries, was far from being resolved with the poverty-stricken population on a steady increase. The gains of rapid globalization have not been distributed equitably. On the contrary, the gap between the rich and poor countries has further widened. We witness a continuous increase in the world' poor, of which a large percentage are women. Poverty has become a major impediment to the empowerment of women. In our view, efforts of the international community should, in the short-term, be focused on the following areas:

1. Help poor women shake off poverty as soon as possible and achieve their own economic independence. For without economic independence, it would be difficult for women to enjoy full political, social and cultural rights. Freeing these women from the yoke of destitution is a pre-condition for promoting overall progress for women. In this connection, developed countries bear a greater responsibility.

2. Developed countries should provide the assistance necessary for the advancement of women in developing countries. They should demonstrate the political will by honouring their commitments in real earnest. In formulating economic, fi