|Statement of the Chinese Delegation At the Third Committee of the 55th Session of the UN General Assembly On Women-related Issues (Items 107 & 108)|
Women always play an essential role in the existence, development and progress of human society. The realization of gender equality also remains the goal for which women of the world have been striving unremittingly. On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women this past June, the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Women was held in New York. The Special Session assembled government representatives from various countries and regions as well as a large number of NGO representatives here in the United Nations for a comprehensive review and consideration of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action over the past five years and for summing up successful experience. More importantly, they identified the obstacles to be overcome through further efforts. Despite the different historical backgrounds, levels of economic development and cultural traditions in their respective countries, the delegates displayed maximum flexibility and, after arduous consultations and on the basis of consensus, drew up a document entitled Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Special Session will be entered in the annals of history as another landmark in the advancement of women around the world.
As mankind stand at the threshold of the new millennium, the question as to how to take the actions and initiatives as agreed at the Special Session and effectively fulfill all the equal rights for women, who account for half of the world population, is a central issue of common concern to all countries in the years to come. Over the past five years, poverty, which has been besetting the developing countries, was far from being resolved with the poverty-stricken population on a steady increase. The gains of rapid globalization have not been distributed equitably. On the contrary, the gap between the rich and poor countries has further widened. We witness a continuous increase in the world' poor, of which a large percentage are women. Poverty has become a major impediment to the empowerment of women. In our view, efforts of the international community should, in the short-term, be focused on the following areas:
1. Help poor women shake off poverty as soon as possible and achieve their own economic independence. For without economic independence, it would be difficult for women to enjoy full political, social and cultural rights. Freeing these women from the yoke of destitution is a pre-condition for promoting overall progress for women. In this connection, developed countries bear a greater responsibility.
2. Developed countries should provide the assistance necessary for the advancement of women in developing countries. They should demonstrate the political will by honouring their commitments in real earnest. In formulating economic, financial and trade policies, they should make sure that those policies do not have an adverse impact, direct or indirect, on the women of developing countries.
3. Give women more opportunities to participate in the process of achieving gender equality. In the course of national economic development and social progress, women's participation is of vital importance. What's more, women's real and extensive involvement forms the basis of an enabling environment for the advancement of women worldwide.
4. Continue the positive role of the United Nations system. Maintaining UN's role in safeguarding peace and security creates an environment of peaceful development that, in turn, contributes to progress in women-related issues internationally.
Equality between men and women remains one of the basic state policies of the Chinese government. Since the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Chinese government has formulated and promulgated the Programme for the Advancement of Chinese Women for 1995-2000 as its national plan for the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. After five years of endeavours, Chinese women's involvement in decision-making has expanded in degree and scope; the rural population in poverty and, in particular, the number of rural poor women have been dramatically reduced; women's level of education has markedly increased while their illiteracy rate has dropped by a large margin. What warrants special mention is the fact that, after the successive return of Hong Kong and Macao to the embrace of their motherland, governments of the two Special Administrative Regions there have also actively adopted measures to implement the follow-ups of the World Conference on Women and, in the process, registered big progress in advancing the cause of women. The Chinese government will, on the basis of the Actions and Initiatives of the GA Special Session, undertake a serious review of its practice over the past five years and continue to perfect existing policy measures in order to strive for the early attainment of the goal of "Equality, Development and Peace".
Thank you, Madame Chairperson.