|Statement by H.E. Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Chinese Mission, at the 48th Session of the Commission for Social Development on Agenda Item 3(a) "Social Integration"|
At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you on your election as the chairman of this session of the Commission. My delegation associates itself with the statement by the representative of Yemen on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development 15 years ago, governments committed themselves to promoting social integration. Since then, good progress has been made in the implementation of the outcome of the Summit and national action and international cooperation in promoting social integration have been constantly increasing. However, as stated by the report of the Secretary General, we still have a long way to go before the "society for all" envisaged by the Summit is turned into reality. The international financial crisis that erupted at the end of 2008 has posed daunting challenges to countries' economic stability and social development, including social integration. Currently, the world economic and financial situation has shown signs of improvement, but deep rooted structural problems cannot be solved in the short run and a complete recovery of the world economy will be a tortuous and slow moving process. How to mitigate the shock of the financial crisis, maintain social equity and justice, and promote social integration constitute a challenge to all governments. It is therefore relevant for this session of the Commission to continue the discussion of the priority theme on social integration. The Chinese government supports the UN system in mainstreaming the question of social integration into its policies and programs and supports the Commission for Social Development in continuing to play an active role in this field.
I wish to make the following observations under this priority theme:
First, we must keep focused on the fundamental tasks of social integration. Countries vary in national condition as well as in focus and priorities of social integration policy, and the international financial crisis affects different countries in different ways. Nevertheless, poverty eradication, employment expansion, social security and protection of vulnerable groups remain fundamental elements of the policy on social integration of all countries. The financial crisis has highlighted the importance of and interconnection among these four elements and it is necessary to strengthen coordination among countries in implementing policies and actions aimed at addressing these issues.
Secondly, we should view poverty eradication from a broad perspective. Economic growth is a key factor in eradicating poverty and promoting social integration. From the perspective of social integration, poverty also includes lack of service in fields such as education, health and housing. Countries should view and address the question of poverty in an integrated and holistic fashion. In formulating and implementing relevant economic policies, full consideration should be given to their social consequences. It is particularly important to appropriately address the question of distribution of income and public service resources with a view to maintaining social equity and justice.
Thirdly, energetic efforts are needed to expand employment through implementing integrated strategies. Countries should strive to rekindle economic growth and maintain macro economic stability so as to create necessary conditions for stabilizing employment. It is necessary to formulate policies to eradicate discriminatory impediments to employment based on race, age, disability or gender and to generate the enthusiasm of people, especially disadvantaged groups, for seeking employment. It is also necessary, by way of various forms and levels of education and training, to enhance people's confidence in seeking employment and improve their employability.
Fourthly, efforts should be speeded up to set up and improve social security systems. A complete and effective social security system is indispensable to the promotion of social integration. The international financial crisis has caused a surge of demand for social security. Special groups such as the poor, persons with disabilities, the elderly, youth and immigrants bear a disproportionate share of the burden of the financial crisis and their need for social security has become more acute than ever before. While responding to the financial crisis, countries should make a comprehensive review of their national social security systems and the impact of contingency measures on social security, consider short, medium and long term goals in an integrated and balanced manner, and establish and improve their social security systems, particularly to provide effective targeted protection for special groups in light of their national conditions.
Fifthly, special attention should be given to the plight of the developing countries. The developing countries have suffered heavy blows as a result of the financial crisis and are faced with a much more severe situation compared to the developed ones in eradicating poverty, promoting employment and improving social security system. The developed countries should shoulder their due responsibilities and obligations, demonstrate political will and take practical actions to provide developing countries assistance in financing, technology transfer and capacity building , effectively honor their ODA commitment, cancel or reduce the debt of the LDCs and avoid any form of trade protectionism detrimental to the interest of the developing countries.
The Chinese government attaches high importance to the work related to the elderly, youth and persons with disabilities and has taken a series of policy measures since the outbreak of the financial crisis to promote economic growth and improve people's livelihood.
We have left no stone unturned in trying to expand employment by implementing more active employment policies; setting as a high priority the employment of college graduates; expanding the channel of employment for rural migrant workers; helping urban residents who have difficulties getting jobs, zero-employment families and people in disaster stricken areas find jobs; vigorously supporting entrepreneurship as a means to promote employment generation and further improving employment related public services.
We have intensified efforts to improve our social security system by pushing forward with the improvement of the system of basic pension insurance and the system of social relief in urban and rural areas. We have expanded the coverage of social security and raised the level of social security benefits. Taking education as a priority, we have been striving to achieve equity in education and have worked hard to implement the policy of free compulsory education in rural and urban areas, addressing step by step the question of providing free compulsory education for children of rural migrant workers at the importing place, and improving our student financial aid system.
We have launched a comprehensive and in-depth reform of our health care system, which includes putting the building of a basic health care system on the fast track, setting up a national basic medicine system, improving health care service at the grassroots level, advancing equal access to basic public health service, and carrying out reform of public hospitals. Our goal is to realize universal access to basic health care and build a basic health care system by 2020.
We have engaged actively in building a social security system and a service system for persons with disabilities and have incorporated this objective in China's Human Rights Action Plan 2009-2010. Preparations are going on in earnest for the first country report of China under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
It is the shared goal of social development endeavors of all countries to realize social justice and equality and create a society for all through eradicating poverty and achieving full employment. We are willing to work together with the international community towards the early realization of this goal and the creation of a harmonious world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.