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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Side Event on Transforming Agrifood Systems and Fostering Inclusive Rural Development in the Context of COVID-19 to End Rural Poverty

2020-12-02 00:08

Distinguished guests, Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome you all to this meeting. I also wish to thank all co-sponsors for initiating this event.

Poverty eradication is a common challenge for all countries and it is also the primary goal on the 2030 Agenda. According to Secretary-General's report, 80% of the world's population living in extreme poverty are in rural areas. Eradicating rural poverty is a top priority for achieving SDG1. Currently, COVID-19 is posing a serious impact on poverty reduction. It is expected that 88 to 115 million people around the world will return to poverty this year. At the same time, unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. International food industrial and supply chains are disrupted due to anti-epidemic measures, threatening global food security. Under such circumstances, accelerating rural poverty reduction and transforming food systems should be prioritized for post COVID-19 recovery and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. There is no doubt our determination is firm and strong. The question is: How to get our job done? It's my sincere hope that we can explore thoughts and ideas through this platform. I would like to share a few points based on China's practices.

- We should find the right focus so as to ensure measures for rural poverty reduction are targeted and effective. Only when every poor farmer is lifted out of poverty can the goals of "eliminating all forms of poverty" and "leaving no one behind" be truly achieved. With the worsening impacts of climate change and environmental challenges, green measures must be adopted for rural poverty reduction to achieve harmony between man and nature, which is the only way to sustainable agricultural development. Weak links such as insufficient infrastructure, connectivity and digital technology applications make it difficult for rural areas to adapt to the digital age, and must be addressed with great efforts.

What we have been doing in China is to adopt a targeted approach to poverty alleviation, reaching out to each and every poor farmer, and created tailored programs to meet individual needs. We work hard to develop rural tourism, a good choice that helps generate incomes and preserve the natural environment. We also encourage the development of e-commerce to help farmers sell produce more easily, which is especially important for minimizing the impact of the pandemic.

- We should act more quickly to adopt effective actions. The impact of the pandemic underscores that there is no time to lose in advancing the cause of global poverty reduction. Actions speak louder than words. Rural poverty reduction requires leadership, effective policies, wise allocation of resources, and synergy of all social sectors. Dynamic management and monitoring is crucial to guaranteeing results.

China has also made tremendous effort in this regard by taking concrete actions in achieving real results. We have incorporated poverty reduction into national strategic planning. Governments at all levels have set up specialized agencies for poverty alleviation, continuously increasing financial input and mobilizing efforts of the whole society. For seven consecutive years, more than 100 million Chinese are lifted out of poverty. A few days ago, all 832 poor counties in China took off the poverty hat, a solid step toward lifting all rural poor out of poverty by the current standard before the end of the year, meeting SDG1 ten years ahead of schedule. It has been proven that with unremitting efforts, the goal of poverty reduction can be achieved.

- We should build global partnerships. The 2030 Agenda has set a clear direction for international cooperation on poverty reduction. We should make poverty reduction a priority of international development cooperation and create more favorable conditions for developing countries. Trade liberalization and facilitation is important for the stability of food supply chains during the pandemic, and will help maintain farmers' livelihoods and global food security. Tripartite cooperation on rural poverty reduction and agricultural projects will help developing countries access latest technologies to achieve common development.

To this end, China actively supports other developing countries in various ways in fighting poverty and accelerating agricultural development. Through advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and establishing the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund and China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund, China has been working hard in promoting mutually beneficial agricultural cooperation to benefit the local people. I'm glad the EU is with us here. China is ready to strengthen cooperation with EU members and other parties on the above-mentioned platforms to provide targeted support and assistance to Africa and other regions. China will actively support the UN, the FAO, IFAD and WFP in playing their important roles. We will work with all parties to take the opportunity of the 2021 Food Systems Summit to promote the transformation of food systems and accelerate rural poverty reduction and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Going forward, China will join hands with all parties to continue reducing poverty in rural areas, implement sustainable development goals, recover better from the pandemic, and build a better life for all.

I wish you a fruitful event. Thank you.

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