|Statement by Ms. Zhang Dan, Counselor & Alternative Representative of the Chinese Delegation, at the 48th Session of the Commission for Social Development|
The financial crisis has confronted the global economy with the most daunting challenge since the Great Depression of the last century. It has also severely affected the social development of countries around the world, developing countries in particular. Thanks to the joint efforts of governments and the international community in the past year or so, the world economy has shown signs of recovery, but it has yet to get on the track of steady growth and its structural and deep-rooted problems remain prominent. Historical experience tells us that job market recovery lags far behind economic recovery, so the negative impact of the financial crisis on employment will continue to unfold. Meanwhile, social expenditures of the developing countries are stretched thin and can hardly meet the ever-growing demand for social services. We should set our sight on the future while responding to the current situation, take full account of developments in end-of-crisis and post-crisis periods and in an even longer time frame, continue to take integrated measures in employment and social sectors so as to create necessary conditions for the global economy to embark on a path of comprehensive and sustainable development.
The year 2009 was the most difficult year for China's economic and social development since the advent of the new century. Hard hit by the financial crisis, the Chinese government was nevertheless committed to improving people's livelihood, taking it as both the starting point and the ultimate goal of economic and social development. By taking measures at the macro level to secure growth and improve people's welfare and by expediting the development of a basic public service system covering all urban and rural residents, we have greatly enhanced the level of social security. We have significantly increased investment in improving people's livelihood. In 2009, the central government's spending on education, health care, social security, employment, affordable housing and cultural activities totaled 728.463 billion RMB yuan, an increase of 29.4% compared with 2008. We have worked hard to expand the coverage of basic medical insurance scheme to enroll over 1.2 billion people as of the end of last year, thus realizing total coverage for urban residents. We have implemented proactive employment policies to create new jobs, resulting in 11.02 million new jobs in urban areas in the course of last year. These policies and measures played an instrumental role in expanding domestic demand, boosting consumption and maintaining social stability, and have served as a powerful contributor to the successful response to the financial crisis and economic recovery in China.
The Chinese government will remain focused on improving people's livelihood and developing social programs as priorities in its efforts to expand domestic demand and promote economic restructuring. We will continue to lay emphasis on overall planning and coordination of economic and social policies, adopt a more proactive employment policy and steadfastly improve our social security system in an effort to promote harmonious social development.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.