|Statement at the General Debate on National Population Experiences at the 45th Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development By Mr. HU Hongtao|
Mr. HU Hongtao, Director General Department of International Cooperation National Population and Family Planning Commission People's Republic of China made the following statements on April 24:
The Chinese delegation is delighted to have the opportunity to share with the delegates the Chinese experiences regarding the theme "adolescents and youth".
The population of adolescents and youth aged 10 to 24 years in China stands at approximately over 300 million, which is the largest of this age group in the world. Over the recent years, the Chinese government has made the following key actions in safeguarding rights of adolescents and youth, providing them with sexual and reproductive health education and services and promoting their integrated development.
First, develop and constantly improve relevant national laws and policies. Through its continuous efforts to improve relevant laws, policies and regulations, and promote rights protection and reproductive health of adolescents, the Chinese government tries to assure all unmarried youth the right to access sexual and reproductive health information and services. The policy improvement over the recent years mainly includes the followings: respecting personality of adolescents, providing adolescents with reproductive health and family planning services, protecting privacy and confidentiality of adolescents, permitting university students of marriage age to get married and protecting child-bearing rights of university students.
Secondly, conduct sexual and reproductive health education and services. China started its sexual education in the 1980s. At present, all primary/secondary schools and universities offer relevant courses on reproductive health. The population and family planning departments base their efforts on communities and use population schools and adolescent activity centers to provide adolescents with reproductive health knowledge and counseling services. The health departments benefit adolescents with various reproductive health information including health and psychological counseling. The media creates special columns and regular programmes to disseminate reproductive health knowledge for adolescents. China pilots free-of-charge provision of family planning services to adolescents.
Thirdly, continuously improve the system for information collection and management. In addition to the collection of basic information about the health status of adolescents, numerous special surveys are also conducted at national and local levels to improve the system for adolescent health information collection and management. In 2009, with assistance from UNFPA, China completed its first nationwide sampling survey of adolescent reproductive health status. Regular physical check-ups are conducted for students, with data thereof collected and stored in a complete manner. Such data, together with the results of surveys about reproductive health knowledge, attitudes and behavior, are extensively applied by all sectors as a scientific basis for improving services, management and policies.
Fourthly, put the role of NGOs into active play. Civil society organizations such as the China Family Planning Association (CFPA), the China Youth Online League and China National Committee for the Wellbeing of the Youth as well as volunteers have all played positive roles in safeguarding rights and promoting reproductive health of adolescents. Amongst others, the "Adolescent Reproductive Health (2001-2005)" project jointly conducted by CFPA and PATH is of the largest scale and greatest impacts. Although the project came to a successful completion several years ago, the project activities are still going on, giving rise to a sound sustainable development.
In 2010, the NPFPC and the Ministry of Education cooperated with a number of NGOs for a pilot national programme for adolescents in 20 provinces, focusing on adolescent psychological counseling, sexual health education, healthy behavior formation and personality shaping.
Fifthly, proactively promote participation of adolescents. With regard to efforts and work mechanisms related to the provision of information and services to adolescents in China, the adolescents themselves have, as beneficiaries and designers, participated in the full process of policy making, execution of interventions, result assessment, feedback and policy improvement. This not only makes the designing of health promotion better suited to adolescent needs, but also enables a smoother channel for expression of adolescent voices, broadens horizons of adolescents, and trains adolescent ability for self management, problem identification and problem solution. At present, China has set up a China Youth Network, which, consisting of youth representatives from across the country, plays a positive role in safeguarding adolescent rights and interests and promoting adolescent reproductive health.
Sixthly, promote international exchanges and cooperation. Another important part of our efforts to promote adolescent reproductive health in China is learning of international experiences. The UNFPA, UNICEF, Spanish Fund, PATH, WHO, Marie Stopes International, and Rosa Rosenberg Fund for Children all have established extensive effective partnership with relevant Chinese departments and NGOs.
Despite the above-mentioned remarkable progresses in reproductive health and integrated development of adolescents, China is still confronted by many challenges. Adolescent and youth needs for reproductive health and family planning are not yet fully satisfied; public awareness regarding the provision of reproductive health education and services to adolescents still needs upgrading; with accelerating urbanization, the growing migrant population requires easier and better access to reproductive health and family planning services; unexpected pregnancy rate and induced abortion ratio among girls remain relatively high; and many adolescents are unable to cope with development of the modern society both psychologically and in terms of requisite skills.
In face with the above challenges, the Chinese government will further enhance adolescent reproductive health from multiple perspectives including law, policy, education and service provision, to promote integrated development of adolescents. At the same time, the Chinese government will continue to boost exchanges and cooperation with all countries of the world, especially South-South cooperation, so that we will jointly work for the better being of adolescents and youth and for attainment of the ICPD goals and the MDGs.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.