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Statement on Social Development (Item 61) by Ms. ZHANG Dan, Counsellor & Deputy Representative of the Chinese Delegation at the Third Committee of the 64th Session of the General Assembly


October 5, 2009, New York

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you on your election to the chairmanship of the Third Committee of this session of the General Assembly. You and other members of the bureau can count on the full support and cooperation of the Chinese delegation. My delegation welcomes the relevant reports submitted by the Secretary General under this item and associates itself with the statement made by Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The current financial crisis has produced huge impacts on the economic and social development around the world. Its negative effects such as the worsening unemployment, exacerbation of poverty, erosion of public welfare and cutting of expenditures in education and health care are seriously threatening the headway made in social development in recent years. At the same time, the intertwining problems of climate change, epidemics, food and energy crises and natural disasters have posed additional challenges to the social stability and development of countries. It is a common challenge facing all governments to combat the blow of the financial crisis and maintain social equity and social justice. On this question, China would like to make the following points:

First, it is necessary to increase input in social development and stabilize and expand employment. In formulating macro economic policies and economic stimulus packages, governments should fully bear in mind the need of social development and try their best to reduce the impact of the financial crisis on education, health care, social security and social relief. They should place employment expansion at the core of their efforts to promote growth and ensure people's living conditions, increase support for small and medium enterprises and informal sectors of the economy, maintain input in public utilities, thus achieving economic recovery and social stability through implementing social policies.

Secondly, protection of vulnerable groups should be strengthened. Vulnerable social groups are usually the major victims of the crisis. As a result of multiple challenges of financial crisis, climate change, food crisis and energy crisis, vulnerable social groups such as women, the elderly, persons with disabilities and immigrants find themselves in a worse plight and rural and remote areas are mired in deeper poverty. Countries should increase social security for vulnerable groups, adopt enabling policies to enhance their capacity to cope with crises, reinforce efforts of poverty reduction and development, strengthen employment training for these groups and promote social integration.

Thirdly, the difficulties faced by developing countries deserves special attention. The financial crisis has made it even more difficult for the developing countries to realize the MDGs. Developed countries should honor their ODA commitments, fulfill their promise of financial and technological transfers for responding to climate change, avoid taking trade protectionist measures against developing countries and give developing countries a bigger say in international economic governance.

Mr. Chairman,

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past sixty years, especially the past thirty years since the beginning of China's reform and opening up process, China has achieved tremendous progress in social development. It has reached ahead of schedule MDG objectives in the fields of poverty reduction, infant mortality, education and gender equality; and is well on track to achieve other objectives.

Since the outbreak of the world financial crisis, the Chinese government has kept its focus on the protection and betterment of people's livelihood and the improvement of our social security system and has on that basis taken a series of proactive measures. Those measures include: raising the level of social security by expediting the improvement of the social security system and expanding the coverage of social security; deepening the reform of the health care system with a view to providing basic health care to all residents in both urban and rural areas; and implementing more active employment policies to ensure and expand employment by all available means. In 2009, the budget of the central government has allotted 728.5 billion RMB yuan to undertakings related to people's livelihood, which represents a 66.7% increase of funds for employment generation and nearly 40% increase of health care related expenditures. These policy measures have already produced initial results and have served as a powerful impetus to China's economic and social development.

The Chinese government pays great attention to the trend of rapid aging of the Chinese population and has worked energetically to implement the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. China is gradually building a social security system with social insurance, social assistance and social welfare as the basis, basic old age care, basic medical care and minimum living guarantee as the focus and charity work and commercial insurance as the supplement. Efforts have been made to strengthen the family's function of caring for the elderly and actively promote society-based service for the elderly with the community playing a central role in an effort to ensure the provision of care to the elderly people by both the family and the society. To better respond to the challenge caused by industrialization and urbanization to the work of caring for the aged in rural areas, this year China has started to set up a new system of social insurance for the aged in rural areas which combines basic pension with individual pension savings. The state pays the full amount of the minimum basic pension for farmers so that all farmers in the country will enjoy social security when they reach old age.

The Chinese government regards the promotion of the welfare of persons with disabilities and the improvement of their conditions as an important and urgent task in its endeavor to build a well-off and harmonious society. Remarkable achievements have been made in this regard which include the rapid expansion of the coverage of rehabilitation service for persons with disabilities, considerable improvement of employment of persons with disabilities, important progress in poverty reduction and further enhancement of social security. In June, 2008, China formally ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, thus making a solemn commitment to the international community for the implementation of the Convention. By amending its Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities according to the Convention, China has aligned its domestic law with the international instrument, strengthened the safeguard of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities, further substantiated provisions on the construction of an environment of accessibility and on legal responsibilities, thus optimizing the legal system guaranteeing the rights of persons with disabilities.

The question of youth is a priority to the Chinese government. The government supports the development of youth organizations and their capacity building and mobilizes the participation by the young people in activities such as community prevention of juvenile delinquency, community volunteering service and campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. In addressing the difficulties the young people have encountered in seeking employment because of the financial crisis, the Chinese government has taken measures in many aspects. First, the government has made the employment of college graduates priority of its overall employment generation work and reinforced employment service and guidance for college graduates. Secondly, the government has established practice bases for youth employment and entrepreneurship to build up the capacity of the young people to find jobs and start their own business and improve their working skills. So far, 8,835 such practice bases have been established in the country, which provide around 280,000 practice positions to the young people. Thirdly, the government has offered micro-credits for rural youth entrepreneurship, carried out targeted practical skill training and labor reserve training for the rural youth with a view to addressing the problems of financial bottleneck and lack of skills encountered by rural youth in starting their own business or seeking employment.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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