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Statement by Mr. Wang Guoqiang Head of the Chinese Delegation, Vice Minister of the State Population and Family Planning Commission at the 36th Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development

2003/03/31


Mr. Chairman,

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese delegation please allow me to express our congratulations to you on your election as the Chairman of the thirty-sixth session of the UN Commission on Population and Development. My warm congratulations also go to the other members of the bureau. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the Secretariat for the excellent preparations it has made for the session.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Delegation appreciates the report about population, education and development submitted by the Secretary-General to the session. By using both the quantitative and qualitative data, the report analyses current situations worldwide, achievements made and challenges ahead regarding population, education and development. The Chinese delegation would like to make the following comments.

1. It is clearly indicated in the ICPD-POA that the relationship between education and demographic and social changes is one of interdependence. There is a close and complex relationship among education, marriage age, fertility, mortality, mobility and activity. The increase in the education of women and girls contributes to greater empowerment of women, to a postponement of the age of marriage and to a reduction in the size of families. The Secretary-General's report cites a great deal of data to further elaborate the interdependent relations among population, education and development. The fact has been fully confirmed in the implementation of China's family planning program.

2. The ICPD-POA takes the eradication of illiteracy as one of the prerequisites for human development and requests that all countries should further strive to ensure complete access to primary school or an equivalent level of education by both girls and boys as quickly as possible before the year 2015. By the end of 2000 the Chinese Government had achieved the strategic objective of basic universal access to 9-year compulsory education, which covers more than 85% of total population and basically eradicated illiteracy of young people.. The level of primary education in China has basically reached the same level with that of the moderately developed countries. The current major drawbacks in primary education and secondary education in China is the low enrolment ratio in the stage of preschool education and senior high school education.

3. The Secretary-General mentioned in his report that the gender disparities in education were being narrowed down in some countries at the end of the 1990s. In order to implement the ICPD-POA and Programme of Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women and to realize gender equality, the Chinese Government has formulated the China Women Development Programme (2001-2010) in accordance with the real situation in China to safeguard the political, social, cultural, educational and reproductive health legitimate rights and interests of women. China has put women's education into national educational development plan. The main objectives are to guarantee the right of girls to have access to 9-year compulsory education; to keep the enrolment ratio for girls of school age in elementary schools at about 99%; and to basically eliminate the phenomenon that girls of elementary school age are unable to go to school. that the objective of the plan is to facilitate the gross enrolment ratio for girls at the junior high school, senior high school and higher education levels at 95%, 75% and 15% respectively; To increase the literacy rate for the young adult women to around 95%; The overall objective is to enhance women's lifetime education level; to reduce the gender disparity in years of education; and to increase women's capabilities in science and culture. The Chinese Government really appreciates that in the Secretary-General's report, HIV/AIDS strategy has been included into the reproductive health education content. The Chinese Government pays special attention to the HIV/AIDS education, and putting HIV/AIDS education on the important agenda of adolescent reproductive health education to publicize its information.

4. China's entry into the World Trade Organization brings many opportunities and challenges for education. The average educational level is still relatively low in terms of the overall population of China. Compared with the developed countries, the general quality of health and education continues to lag far behind. There are remarkable differences in educational attainment between the urban and rural labor force. The capability of individuals to obtain employment and to start an undertaking is not keeping pace of the changing market. Therefore, we will pay more attention to the sustainable development of domestic human resources, learn from and draw on the advanced experience of other countries, develop major efforts to achieve universal access to education, to accelerate the training for badly-needed personnel, and strive to enhance national educational level and international competitive capacity.

Thank you!

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