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Statement by Mr. Liu Jian, Minister, Office of Poverty Alleviation, State Council of the People's Republic of China, at the Meeting of World Leaders for Action Against Hunger and Poverty
( 20 September 2004, New York)

2004/09/20


Your Excellency President Lula da Silva,
Your Excellency Secretary-General Kofi Annan,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to start by extending my sincere congratulations on the successful convocation of the Meeting of World Leaders for Action Against Hunger and Poverty.

Hunger and Poverty are serious and pressing challenges facing our world today. It is spurred by the shared sense of responsibility to take up the challenges, leaders and senior government officials from the around world are gathered here in New York to reaffirm our commitment to action against hunger and poverty and seek ways to achieve that goal. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to this meeting. President Hu Jintao could not attend the meeting in person because of his schedule. I would like to convey to the meeting the support and best wishes from President Hu and the Chinese Government.

Hunger and poverty has become a global problem menacing world peace and human development. It is the shared aspiration and goal of all peoples to eliminate poverty, promote development and safeguard peace.

In the past fours years since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration at the Millennium Summit in 2000, countries around the world have made unremitting efforts for the elimination of hunger and poverty. However, the global campaign against poverty still falls short of expectation due to various reasons.

Poverty is born out of political, economic, social and historical factors. The problem gets even worse in an irrational international political and economic order amidst unbalanced development. Therefore, poverty reduction is not only a term in the economics, but a comprehensive issue pressing for a solution from both individual countries and the international community. Now I would like to share with you some propositions of the Chinese Government on the elimination of hunger and poverty based on our own experiences.

First, joining hands to foster a favourable international environment for poverty reduction.

A peaceful, stable and favourable international environment is the basic prerequisite for wiping out hunger and poverty. It is our sincere wish that countries could join hands to foster a favourable international environment for that purpose. In the political field, the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and universally recognized norms of international law must be observed in maintaining world peace and stability. In the economic field, efforts should be made to formulate fair, reasonable, open and transparent international rules for world trade, investment and finance so that developing countries can have their fair share of development dividend.

Second, taking up our respective responsibilities and obligations while boosting collaboration.

Poverty reduction requires not only national endeavours from developing countries, but also joint efforts from the international community. Developing countries need to work out poverty reduction strategies in light of their own situation and change the state of underdevelopment through self-reliance and hard work. Developed countries, on the other hand, are duty-bound to render more assistance to their developing counterparts, making good their commitments on financial aid, technology transfer, debt relief and market access in particular. International organizations must play a greater role in the global campaign against poverty, pressing for implementation of follow-up actions of relevant international conferences and exploring new ways to better support the global efforts on poverty reduction.

Third, mobilizing resources for the elimination of poverty.

The bid to eliminate hunger and poverty calls for broad participation of the whole society. The roles of government, the business sector and the civil society should be given full play and complement one another in poverty reduction. To inject fresh vigour and vitality into this global cause, all available resources should be mobilized and diverse modalities of collaboration be explored through extensive dialogue and consultations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Reducing and eliminating poverty and achieving common prosperity is a constant goal of the Chinese Government. Thanks to over two decades of hard work since the launch of the reform and opening-up program, China has achieved remarkable progress in poverty alleviation. The country's rural poor population without adequate food and clothing has been reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 29 million to date, accounting for only 3% of the total rural population in contrast to 30.7% in 1978. Nevertheless, China remains a developing country with rather low per capita income. Poverty is still an acute problem in certain areas and some people face repauperization. To solve these problems, the Chinese Government has set for itself the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way and formulated policies to achieve the goal. The goal reflects the Government's new development concept, which is human-centred, comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable. The government-led partnership with all social sectors, the strategy of self-reliance and reducing poverty through development, and the road of all-round development have been robust driving forces in China's poverty alleviation campaign.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China's fight against poverty is an important part of the global campaign. Over the years, China has conducted fruitful cooperation on poverty reduction with other countries and international organizations. Last May, the Chinese Government hosted in Shanghai the Global Conference on Scaling-up Poverty Reduction sponsored by the World Bank. The Shanghai Agenda on Poverty Reduction adopted at the Conference highlights many effective solutions to poverty. As a follow-up action, the Chinese Government is working with the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank for the establishment of an International Centre for Poverty Reduction, which will serve as a platform for countries scale up their poverty reduction capabilities through reviewing, sharing and drawing upon experiences.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Eradicating hunger and poverty is a glorious and noble cause of humanity, and a time-consuming and demanding task for us all. Let us work hand in hand and march on the road to the elimination of hunger and poverty.

Thank you.

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