|Statement by Counselor ZHANG Dan of the Chinese Delegation at the 45th Session of the Commission for Social Development on the Implementation of UN Plans and Programmes of Action in the Field of Social Development (Item 3b)|
The Chinese government always attaches great importance to questions concerning the elderly, youth and persons with disabilities. It has been striving to build a harmonious people-centred society and enable all social groups to share the fruit of economic and social progress.
I. With the world's ageing population increasing at an accelerated pace, aging-related problems are looming ever larger. Take China as an example. At present, its elderly population over the age of 60 has reached 142 million, accounting for about 11% of the entire population of the country. This figure is projected to shoot up to 160 million by 2010, roughly 12% of the national total. Aging is becoming one of the major challenges to the country. To address this question, I would like to share with colleagues the following ideas:
First, countries should, in the light of their national conditions, integrate the issue of aging into their overall planning for economic and social development. Only by doing so, can they understand its dynamics and characteristics, and incorporate aging-related efforts into their overall economic and social development plans, and ensure good coordination between such efforts and socio-economic development.
Second, all countries, the developing countries in particular, should prioritize and actively promote economic growth and social progress across the board, listing as priority goals the eradication of poverty and improvement of health insurance and social security, constantly lifting the living standard of the elderly and improving their health.
Third, while providing guidance, governments should also mobilize the initiative of all sectors of the society. As aging-related efforts represent a social enterprise, it is impossible for the government to do everything by itself. Instead, full play should be given to the roles of such social sectors as business, intermediary agencies and the family as well as elderly people themselves.
The Chinese government has been following up and implementing in real earnest the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging and has taken measures to meet the challenges posed by this phenomenon. In 2006, China started implementation of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan for the Development of China's Undertakings for the Elderly (2006-2010) and published the White Paper on the Development of China's Undertakings for the Elderly. Although the existing pension and health insurance systems cannot fully meet the needs of the aging population whose growth is accelerating, we shall nonetheless adhere to the people-centred principle, keep improving our social security system and actively safeguard the fundamental interests of the elderly.
II. The Chinese gover