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Comments by the Chinese Delegation on the Issue of Sanitation at CSD12
(22 April 2004, New York)


Mr. Chairman:

Thank you for giving me the floor to talk about China's rural sanitation, and the transformation of rural sanitation facilities.

The Chinese Government has set the goal that by 2005, sanitation coverage in rural areas should reach 55%, and 65% by 2010.

By the end of 2003, among 248 million Chinese rural households, 50.92% have access to latrines, while the human waste treatment rate has reached 55.28%. In 2003 alone, 5.84 million new latrines were built, which means a 2.26% increase in the rural areas.

Means of Implementation

1. The Chinese government has formulated a series of applicable policies and measures. In light of our conditions, our sanitation policy for the rural areas at the current stage includes guidance by the government, coordination among different sectors, support from the civil society, people's participation, community-sponsored projects that enjoy government support, different kinds of resources mobilization, projects based on local conditions, and guidance backed by scientific knowledge.

2. We have provided more input into rural sanitation by making the government assume more responsibilities and mobilizing various actors in providing public services. For instance, in 2003, of the 4.482 billion of RMB China invested in the transformation of rural latrines, 41.84% came from the government and cooperative entities, while 48.16% came from individual rural households.

3. Through enhanced international cooperation, we have brought in managerial skills, technology and financial resources from abroad, thus contributing much to the transformation of rural sanitation facilities.

4. Governments at all levels and NGOs have all been involved in this process. They have brought into play their own comparative advantages in the common endeavor to speed up the transformation.

5. By utilizing media and press, we have educated people on sanitation, health and the need to replace old habits with new and healthy ones. The robust reach-out campaigns, together with our activities aimed at promoting good health for our 900 million rural population, have increased awareness among rural people of the importance of the sanitation transformation and the good effects on their own health. This in turn has triggered a participatory approach.

6. Women's organizations and youth associations at all levels have mobilized their members in the transformation of sanitation facilities. Through their work in improving sanitation facilities at their own homes, they have served as role models.

Obstacles and challenges

1. As a big developing agricultural country with 248 million of rural households, China still faces an arduous task in sanitation transformation. At present, there are 122 million of households whose sanitation facilities need to be improved. These households are mainly located in the poor, remote and low-income regions where shortage of fund has serious impeded the transformation work.

2. As China has a vast territory, conditions vary from one part to another. To improve rural sanitation facilities, we need techniques tailored to local conditions. This is the weak link in our efforts.

Actions and measures

1. The focus of our work will continue to be improving access to water and sanitation facilities. As such, the Government has offered more vigorous support for rural sanitation improvement, especially for latrines transformation.

2. We will gradually improve our market economy, look for more sources of funding. Meanwhile, the Government will play a more actively role in coordination, so that more sectors and actors will take part in the process.

3. We will further enhance cross-sectoral coordination, pursue more vigorous education on health, and provide more technical guidance. We will do more to promote the use of applicable technology.

4. By continuing to strengthen international cooperation and exchanges, we will bring in from abroad advanced managerial ideas and skills.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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