|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
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 work related to population and strengthen the international cooperation in the field of population. Developed countries should honor their commitments, provide more assistance to developing countries to help them overcome their difficulties in obtaining the ICPD goals and the MDGs so that people in every country and region of the world can have equal opportunities for development, thus creating conditions for the common prosperity of mankind.
The Chinese government has always implemented conscientiously the ICPD goals and the MDGs, and has incorporated efforts to achieve those goals in its work in the field of population and development. After years of unremitting efforts, China, a developing country with a large population, has realized rapid economic growth and comprehensive development of its population, thus contributing positively to the stabilization of the world’s population growth. As a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, China wishes to take this opportunity to share its experience in the field of population and development as its contribution to the joint efforts of the international community to realize the ICPD goals and the MDGs.
First, we have adhered to the basic national policy of family planning and sought to address the question of population in an integrated manner. Based on its specific national situation, the Chinese government has steadfastly implemented its basic state policy of family planning, adopted a strategy of integrating population with development in decision making and as a result, effectively stabilized our over rapid population growth and improved the quality of our population. After many years of hard work, the natural growth rate of population in China has declined to 5.08 per thousand in 2008 and the maternal mortality rate has been reduced to 36.6 per 100,000. There has been a marked improvement in health care, education and social security
Secondly, we have always worked to promote gender equality and meet our people's needs in family planning and reproductive health. Gender equality is an important policy of the Chinese government and we take an integrated approach in trying to rectify the unbalanced sex ratio at birth through initiatives such as “caring for girls”. We have incorporated reproductive health into our programs for population and family planning; provided regular prenatal care to pregnant women and new moms and health care to children under three. The Chinese government places great emphasis on combating HIV/AIDS and has effectively curbed the spread of the AIDS pandemic.
Thirdly, we have endeavored to facilitate the orderly flow and reasonable distribution of population and to enable migrants to have equal access to public service. The annual migrants in China in recent years have reached 147 million. In places with large concentrations of migrants, we have basically established effective forms of regional cooperation, carried out various activities to provide care for migrant workers from rural areas, continuously expanded free family planning service for migrants and effectively safeguarded their legitimate rights and interests.
Fourthly, we have always followed the strategy of sustainable development in an effort to achieve the coordinated development of population, resources and environment. The Chinese government has all along tried to address the issues of population in an integrated manner in a way that suits our country's specific situation. We place the need to stabilize population growth, conserve resources and protect the environment at an important strategic position in our endeavor to realize the balanced, coordinated and sustainable development of population, resources and the environment.
In realizing the ICPD goals and the MDGs, China also faces numerous difficulties and challenges. In response to these challenges, the Chinese government will implement the scientific outlook on development in a comprehensive manner, continue to maintain a low birth rate, take an integrated approach in addressing the imbalanced sex ratio at birth, strengthen the service for and management of migrant population, take active measures to respond to the issue of population aging, drastically increase investment in education, health care, employment, social security and urban and rural housing, reinforce efforts in improving people's lives so as to ensure a happy life for our people. At the same time, the Chinese government will continue to strengthen exchange and cooperation with other countries of the world in the field of population and development, support the work of UNFPA and contribute to our common effort to promote the realization of the ICPD goals and the MDGs.
Thank you, Mr. President.