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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yesui, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China at the General Assembly of the United Nations Commemorative of the 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development


New York, 12 October 2009

Mr. President,

Fifteen years ago, the International Conference on Population and Development was convened in Egypt. Representatives of 179 countries gathered in Cairo to sign the Program of Action which identified goals and established time tables for world population development. The ICPD is a milestone in the history of population and development, pointing out the direction of our endeavor. Today we are holding this General Assembly plenary meeting to mark the 15th anniversary of the ICPD, review the path that we have traversed over the past 15 years, exchange our experience in population and development and jointly explore ways to respond to challenges in the field of population. This meeting is of important significance. It will certainly give a strong impetus to the endeavor to realize the goals contained in the Program of Action and the Millennium Development Goals.

Since the convening of ICPD 15 years ago, in a bid to realize the goals set by the Program of Action, governments have formulated plans for population development in accordance with their specific situations in terms of economy, society, resources and environment and have scored significant achievements in the field of population and development. We are pleased to see that the past 15 years have witnessed a decline of the global birth rate, an increase of life expectancy, a decrease of maternal mortality and an enhancement of literacy. People now have more choices in their access to reproductive health and the principles and spirit advocated by the ICPD have been widely disseminated and supported. In this process, UNFPA has exerted remarkable efforts in promoting and achieving the ICPD goals and the MDGs. I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the great contributions that Dr. Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, and her staff have made.

While celebrating the achievements made so far, we must not lost sight of the fact that there are still numerous difficulties and challenges to be overcome in order to realize the goals contained in the Program of Action and the MDGs. Problems like poverty, disease, aging and gender inequality still plague the development of the world population, especially the people in the developing countries. The outbreak of the financial and economic crisis has brought new, severe blows to many developing countries, seriously hampering their capacity to address population and development.

In this connection, the international community should seize this opportunity of commemorating the 15th anniversary of the ICPD to increase input in the