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Statement by Counsellor Xie Bohua of the Chinese Delegation at UNGA 59th Session on agenda 94a: International Year of the Family
(6 December 2004)

2004/12/06


Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation subscribes to the statement by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and wishes to express its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report on the observance of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (A/59/176).

Since the 44th General Assembly proclaimed 1994 as International Year of the Family, the theme of "Family: resources and responsibilities in a changing world" has become a topical concept in social development and an important item on the international agenda. This is a gratifying development.

The issue of the family is an old and complex one. It not only involves individual families, but also has a bearing upon social cohesion and stability. It has an international dimension as well. As we mark the tenth anniversary of the IYF, I'd like to offer the following observations:

Firstly, governments must incorporate the family perspective into social development policies and programmes and deploy all resources, including laws and regulations and appropriate measures, to foster a stable, harmonious and caring environment and protect the interests of the family and its individual members. Importance must be given to the family as the basic cell of society with a view to promoting an integrated, equitable and balanced development of the society.

Secondly, the international community must take measures to increase global awareness of the importance of the family. While the specific issues related to the family may differ from country to country, the pursuit of happiness, stability and harmony is an aspiration and an inherent right shared by all families in the world. Accordingly, the international community must take a broader view in formulating policies and taking measures on the basis of equality, solidarity and mutual respect to create an enabling international environment that facilitates national efforts for family stability and problem-solving.

Mr. President,

The Chinese nation takes pride in its long history and its many good traditions. Already in ancient times, Chinese sages advocated the philosophy of "family harmony leading to good government and in turn to universal peace". They argued for balance between state and family interests, reverence of the old and care for the young and stressed family harmony and stability. Since the founding of New China, the government has sought to ensure family harmony and stability through legal protection, policy guidance and moral restraints. The saying "prosperity follows family harmony" has been a motto for every family in China seeking happiness. The relevant government agencies have sponsored a host of family-oriented activities, such as the "5-virtues family" award, family cultural and art festivals and projects aimed at promoting the civilized family.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the IYF, a world summit on the family, jointly sponsored by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission and the Word Family Organization, is being held today in the city of Sanya in Hainan Province of China. The Summit is to comprehensively review and assess the progress made so far since the proclamation of the "International Year of the Family" and promote the realization of the MDGs from the family perspective. We hope that the Summit will yield positive results and be crowned with success.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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