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Statement by H. E. Mr. Shen Guofang, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN, At the Third Committee of the 56th Session of the UNGA on the Issue of Social Development (Item 27)

2001/10/09

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, congratulate you on your election to the chair of the Third Committee of this session of the General Assembly. I am confident that under your leadership, all aspects of the work of the Third Committee will be completed with great success. Our congratulations also go to other members of the Bureau.

Mr. Chairman,

Healthy, stable, well-balanced and comprehensive social development is not only the objective for economic development but also an important representation of the progress of human civilization. The Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Social Development held last year further reviewed and evaluated the implementation of the outcome of the 1995 Social Summit and put forward new initiatives, thus laying a stronger foundation for the international cooperation in this field.

Mr. Chairman,

Although countries have made a lot of efforts to effectively implement the follow-ups to the abovementioned meetings, the work in this field around the globe still faces severe challenges and difficulties. As indicated by the just-released Report on the World Social Situation, 2001, since the 1990s, the global situation of income inequality has gone from bad to worse and the income gap between developed and developing countries, urban and rural areas, male and female has, on the whole, become increasingly wide. In a global workforce estimated at around 3 billion, between 750 million and l billion are estimated as underemployed. In the field of health, traditional illnesses and new types of infectious diseases jeopardize human health and drain on resources for social development, as is seen, most notably, in the spread of HIV/Aids, which has put a tight grip on global social development.

Mr. Chairman,

In order to translate into reality the proposals and initiatives put forward by the Copenhagen Declaration and Platform for Action as well as the outcome document of the Special Session of the General Assembly on Social Development, countries must join hands in a common effort to this end. In this regard, I would like to make a few points as follows:

I. A peaceful and stable international environment constitutes the precondition for the realization of social development. At present, terrorism has become a major threat to world peace and stability and a terrible hazard to the entire international community. Also, in some regions and countries, protracted armed conflict and warfare have brought enormous losses of life and property onto the local people, directly undermining social development there. Therefore, for the sake of realizing the common progress and prosperity of the entire humanity, countries of the world should rise to their responsibility for maintaining peace and stability and strengthen international cooperation against terrorism in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. At the same time, in consideration of the fundamental interests of people of regions and countries concerned, they should seek appropriate solutions to conflicts through peaceful means. We believe that only with peace and stability achieved can there be a guarantee for social development and progress.

II. International cooperation for social development should be stepped up. It is a responsibility squarely on the shoulder of governments and peoples of countries to seek their own social development, yet nowadays, the whole world is closely linked together in economic and social development, as globalization is well underway. And the global cause for social development calls for the joint efforts of the international community. At present, special attention from the international community should be paid to situations of deteriorating natural environment, decreasing resources and unchecked spreading of terrible diseases in developing countries. For the common interests of mankind, developed countries should fulfill their pledges on official development assistance, provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries, find a fair and equitable solution to the issue of debts of the poor countries and help developing countries out of poverty at an earlier date. As a matter of fact, it is also helpful to the continued development of developed countries to do so.

III. In promoting social development, we must take into consideration old people, women, children, the disabled and other vulnerable groups and fully accommodate their interests in the overall planning at the national level. Only by doing so can a healthy, comprehensive, coordinated and well-balanced social development be achieved.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Government has always attached importance to social development. In the past more than 20 years since it adopted the reform and opening-up policy, while maintaining a rapid economic growth, China has successfully solved the issue of providing sufficient food and clothes to its rural poverty-stricken population of more than 2 hundred million. As a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, however, China still faces a series of daunting tasks such as the acceleration of economic growth, the further improvement of people's livelihood, the eradication of poverty, more input for education as well as better health and public hygiene services. But the Chinese Government is confident in fulfilling its commitments and will take effective measures to achieve coordinated and sustained economic and social development in China.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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