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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan,Deputy Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations on Item 89: "Implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006)"at the 57th Session of the General
(30 October 2002)

2002/10/30
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report submitted on this item and to the Secretariat for its introduction. The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

In recent years, poverty eradication has become an issue of universal concern by the international community. A time bound target on poverty reduction has been set out in the "Millennium Declaration". Both the International Conference on Financing for Development (ICFD) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held this year put the eradication of poverty as a priority in future work. It is therefore of particular importance that the Second Committee now considers this issue. Facts prove that prolonged poverty and under-development is one of the main root causes to many serious international problems, such as armed conflicts, social upheaval, HIV/AIDS pandemic, humanitarian crises and terrorism.  According to the World Bank's statistics, 1.2 billion of the world's population is still living on less than one dollar per day. Asia is still home to the largest population of poor. Meanwhile, the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa is particular disturbing. The international community, therefore, has a long way to go in achieving its objective of poverty reduction as presented in the "Millennium Declaration".


Mr. Chairman,

We believe that eradication of poverty ultimately depends on development. It not only requires the developing countries to choose a way of development according to their own specific circumstances and to implement their own tailor-made development strategies, but also requires strong support and cooperation from the international community. In this connection, I would like to stress the following two points:

First, concrete actions should be taken to meet the needs of financial resources for poverty eradication. According to the studies by the World Bank, an additional 40 to 60 billion dollars of Official Development Assistance (ODA) should be available in order to achieve the Millennium development goals, including the goal on poverty reduction. However, the present available financial resources are far from the amount that is required. As a Chinese saying says, "Even a good housewife is unable to cook a rice meal without rice." Any well-designed policies and development strategies and the capable governments should be supported by sufficient financial resources and other means of implementation, otherwise the goal of poverty eradication could only remain on paper. Therefore, the developed countries should not only fulfill their commitments made at the ICFD on increasing their ODA, but also achieve the ODA target for 0.7% of their GNP at an early date. Meanwhile, the developed countries should also honor their commitments on foreign direct investments, market access, technology transfer and debt relief.  To obtain the objective of poverty eradication, the developing countries not only need assistance, but also need to promote development through trade and investment.

Second, the ownership of developing countries in the work of eradicating poverty should be strengthened. We have noticed that at present, UNDP, the World Bank and the IMF have made the realization of Millennium goal on poverty reduction as a priority in their work. They are providing assistance to developing countries in their efforts to alleviate poverty through adopting country programs or poverty reduction strategy paper and providing poverty reduction and growth facility. On the basis of learning the past lessons, these agencies and institutions have also expressed the willingness to enhance the ownership of the developing countries in the work of poverty reduction. We welcome these commitments. However, we also noticed that there is still a gap between the commitment and reality. Many developing countries are still forced to accept terms and conditions that are not in line with their national situations, in return for the aid from the developed countries. If such situation remains unchanged, the developing countries will be gravely impeded in their efforts to choose the right path of development. Consequently, instead of eradicating poverty, aid would impede development. It is our hope that the donor countries and the relevant international aid agencies change the donor-driven practice and strengthen the ownership of the recipient countries, in order to make the recipient countries to achieve development in their own way.

Mr. Chairman,

As the most populous country in the world, China's efforts on economic development and poverty eradication will undoubtedly have great importance to the global development. The Chinese Government has always committed to economic development and improvement of people's living standard. During the last two decades of reform and opening-up, China has achieved a stable and rapid economic growth, the people's living standard has been significantly enhanced, and social development in every aspect is undertaking. The Chinese population living in extreme poverty has been reduced from 250 million in 1979 to the current level of 30 million, and the proportion of rural population living in extreme poverty has been reduced from 30.7% to 3%. China's achievements in poverty reduction are mainly attributable to the fact that China is following a way of development which is compatible to its own conditions. Poverty reduction has been incorporated into the national plan of economic and social development. Realistic targets on poverty reduction have been set out. The poor region's ability of self-development has been enhanced by a transition of poverty reduction policy from relief to development.

Despite the above achievements, poverty reduction is still a long-term and arduous task for us, given the fact that China is still a developing country with low per capita income. Therefore, we will continue our efforts and strengthen the cooperation with other countries and international organizations in this field, in order to jointly promote the realization of the goal of poverty eradication.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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