|Statement by Ms. ZHANG Dan, Counselor of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, at the Third Committee of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly under Item on Advancement of Women|
New York, 13 October 2008
The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China under this agenda item.
Recent years have witnessed great efforts by the international community to promote gender equality, with remarkable progress achieved. While gender equality and empowerment of women have been gradually incorporated into national policy, the UN system is also taking incremental steps to realize the gender mainstreaming goals. According to the report of the Secretary General (A/63/217), “During its sixty-second session, the General Assembly advanced global policy on gender equality in a number of critical areas”. Increased number of major international conferences and high-level events have paid attention to and held discussions on the issue of gender equality.
Nevertheless, we should be soberly aware of the fact that the cause of women is still confronted with many difficulties and challenges. Traditional threats, from poverty and discrimination to violence and armed conflicts, are intertwined with new challenges, from climate change and economic turbulences to food and energy crises. Together, they constitute an obstacle to the realization of gender equality, as well as a test for the political will and response capacity of states.
The year 2007 marked the mid-way point toward attaining the Millennium Development Goals. At the just-concluded High Level Meeting of the United Nations on the MDGs, it became clear to all the participants that realizing the MDGs is not only the solemn undertaking of national governments but also the ardent aspiration of the world’s people. Advancing gender equality is not only one of the MDGs itself, but also an effective means to realize other MDGs, such as eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
According to the report submitted by the Secretary General to the MDG High Level Meeting, visible progress has been registered across the world in reaching gender-related MDGs: in 2005, two thirds of countries achieved gender equality in terms of primary school enrollment rate; women’s employment rate increased from 36% to 40% at the global level; and the proportion of female parliamentarians grew from 13.5% to 17.9%. These achievements notwithstanding, there exist considerable gaps among regions and disparities within countries in achieving gender equality. Discrimination and violence against women still happen from time to time. Countries still need to further solidify their political commitments by investing adequate resources and taking integrated measures to overcome obstacles to women’s employment and their participation in political decision-making, promote the incorporation of gender perspective into national policies and secure women’s equal participation in and benefit from development.
In our view, cooperation should be strengthened among countries and relevant international organizations. The international community, developed countries in particular, has an obligation to help developing countries in their capacity-building through financial assistance, technical cooperation and personnel training in order to fulfill the relevant commitments made at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the 23rd Special Session of the GA on Women and push forward the attainment on schedule of the MDGs,
Gender equality is a fundamental state policy of China. The Chinese government is committed to using legal, economic and administrative means to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of women, secure women’s equal status in the country’s political, economic and social life, eliminate stereotypes and discrimination against women, and combat criminal activities against women and children. With a view to effectively promoting women’s development and fulfilling the relevant international commitments embodied in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Chinese government has promulgated the second national plan of action for advancing gender equality, the Outline of the Programme for Women’s Development in China 2001-2010, which contains 34 major goals and 100 policy measures for the Chinese women’s development in the first decade of the 21st century. Meanwhile, the revised Outline of the Programme for National Development 2006-2010 devoted, for the first time, a separate section to “safeguarding the rights and interests of women and children”, with detailed plans for promoting and protecting women’s rights and interests and advancing their development.
Realizing gender equality is an arduous task. China is willing and ready to work with other countries to accelerate the fulfillment of the commitments of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the 23rd Special Session of the GA on Women, advance the cause of safeguarding the rights and interests of women and promote the successful realization of the MDGs.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.