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Briefing by Ambassador Zhang Jun on China's Achievement and Experience in Poverty Reduction

2021-03-02 04:27

Development imbalance is a major problem facing the world, and poverty is a persistent challenge that troubles many countries, especially developing countries. Zero poverty is a long-held dream of humankind, and a basic right of the people in want of a better life. That is why the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has made No Poverty its top goal.

As the largest developing country, China has been working hard to eradicate poverty, especially since the launch of reform and opening up. In the past 8 years, China has placed even greater importance on poverty eradication, and launched a battle against poverty. Thanks to our arduous efforts, historic results have been achieved.

On February 25, at a conference marking China's fight against poverty, President Xi Jinping announced that China has achieved a complete victory over absolute poverty. Under the current standards, 98.99 million rural poor have been lifted out of poverty, 832 poor counties and 128,000 poor villages have been removed from the poverty list. Overall regional poverty has been resolved. China has completed the task of eradicating absolute poverty, which is truly a miracle of human society.

●This achievement has advanced China's economic and social development and opened up broad prospects for achieving sustainable development.

-Incomes of China's poor population have increased significantly. People no longer worry about food and clothing. Compulsory education, basic health care, and housing security are guaranteed.

-Rural-urban disparity has been narrowed. In all towns and villages where conditions permit, asphalt or concrete roads have been built, and passenger transportation and postal services are made available; 1.1 million kilometers of roads in rural areas have been updated; 35,000 kilometers of new railroads have been built; the reliability rate of electricity supply in poor areas has reached 99%; over 98% of poor villages are now connected to fiber optics and 4G network.

-Development is more balanced between China's eastern and western regions. We make full use of the human and financial advantages of the eastern regions to meet the needs and tap the resource potential of the western regions, to achieve collaboration and complementarity between the east and west.

-Big progress has been made in social fields. In the past 8 years, school dropouts of poor families have been eliminated. More than 20 million poor patients have been treated. Nearly 20 million poor people have been provided with low-income insurance and special support.

-The ecosystem is better preserved. We believe that a good environment is most valuable. We have integrated green development into poverty reduction actions. We vigorously develop tourism in rural areas to help farmers shake off poverty and achieve both economic and environmental benefits.

●China's achievement in poverty alleviation has improved human rights in China and created a great human rights project.

In fighting poverty, China puts people at the center, safeguards the right to survival and promotes the right to development, and advances the economic, social and cultural rights in parallel with civil and political rights. Specific groups, such as women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities, are given assistance and support on a priority basis.

-Average life expectancy in China has increased by a large margin. It grew from 35 years in 1949, to 68 years in 1981, and to 77 years in 2018. Chinese people, who used to suffer from hunger, now enjoy material abundance and medical care.

-Women are both beneficiaries of and contributors to poverty eradication. Women account for about half of the rural poor lifted out poverty. The realization of gender equality is put on a more solid footing. Five out of the 10 national models of poverty eradication are women. Another 321 women are awarded at the national level for their outstanding contributions to the fight against poverty.

-Persons with disabilities are priority for poverty alleviation. In the past five years, more than 7 million persons with disabilities have been lifted out of poverty as scheduled. More than 24 million with severe disabilities have received living and care allowances. This is important progress in China's implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and a miracle in the history of poverty reduction for persons with disabilities.

-Ethnic minorities are the focus and highlight of poverty alleviation. In 2019, 74 poor counties and 628,000 poor people in Tibet Autonomous Region were all lifted out of poverty. By the end of 2020, poverty was eliminated in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, with a cumulative population of 3,089,000 reaching the line. All 28 ethnic minority groups with relatively small populations have been lifted out of poverty.

China's achievement in poverty reduction is an important contribution to the world's cause of human rights. It shows the world a real picture of China. More than 1.4 billion Chinese enjoy higher living standards and live a peaceful, free and happy life. This is the biggest human rights project and the best human rights practice.

●This achievement has found a viable path towards development and prosperity for developing countries.

-China's poverty reduction practice proves that developing countries can definitely eliminate extreme poverty as long as they find a path suited to their national conditions. While developing itself, China keeps other developing countries in mind. China actively promotes international cooperation on poverty reduction, sharing its experience and practices, and providing assistance to developing countries to promote common development.

-China aims for poverty reduction through its Belt and Road Initiative. China is enhancing the complementarity between the Belt and Road initiative and the 2030 Agenda, helping developing countries strengthen infrastructure development, carrying out agricultural cooperation projects, promoting local job creation and improving people's livelihood. According to the World Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative will help lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million from moderate poverty.

-China has been actively promoting South-South cooperation on poverty reduction. The development sub-fund of the China-UN Peace and Development Fund has implemented 34 projects with the participation of several UN agencies, benefiting dozens of countries. China's Juncao technology supported by the Fund has been introduced in more than 100 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. By the end of 2019, China had built 24 agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa, benefiting more than 500,000 local people, and had trained nearly 3,000 professionals for poverty reduction in 116 developing countries.

●China's achievement makes an important contribution to global development and gives a strong boost to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

-China has provided a strong impetus to the cause of global poverty reduction. Since the launch of reform and opening up, by the current poverty standard, 770 million rural poor people in China have been lifted out of poverty. By the World Bank standard, China contributed more than 70% to global poverty reduction in the same period, making a significant contribution to global poverty reduction. In the past eight years, China has lifted an average of more than 10 million people out of poverty each year, equivalent to the population of a medium-sized country.

-China has achieved SGD1 ten years ahead of schedule. China's story fully shows that sustainable development goals can be met. This serves to boost the confidence and lay the foundation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

-China's economic growth has provided strong support for global growth. China's contribution to global growth has stood at around 30 percent in recent years. In 2020, thanks to its effective response to COVID-19, China was able to resume production and continue to fight poverty. China was the only major economy to register positive growth, injecting strong impetus to global economic recovery.

-While combating poverty, China has been actively engaged in international cooperation against COVID-19. To date, China has provided anti-epidemic assistance to more than 150 countries and 13 international organizations, and sent 36 medical expert teams to countries in need. Honoring its commitment to making its vaccines a global public good, China is providing free vaccine assistance to 53 countries, the vast majority of which are developing countries.

●China's achievement in poverty reduction has not come easily. Looking back, I would like to share with you China's experience in this regard.

First, a strong leadership. The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the political and organizational guarantee for poverty eradication. We place poverty eradication in a prominent position of governance, give full play to our institutional advantages, and make unremitting efforts to achieve our goal. President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to poverty alleviation. With strong personal commitment, President Xi has made more than 50 visits to poor areas to see the situation on the ground. Poverty alleviation is incorporated into China's national development program. All levels of governments have drawn up their working plans, set up a sound working mechanism, and put strong teams into the fight against poverty. We also have strict evaluation and monitoring systems to ensure reliable results.

Second, a people-centered approach. People are the decisive force in promoting socioeconomic development, and they should be the beneficiaries of development. The Communist Party of China has always taken the happiness of the people as its mission. Our purpose of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is to deliver a happy life to all our people and ensure that no one is left behind. This is our solemn commitment to the people and to history. To this end, we always put people at the center. People's well-being is the purpose and goal of our fight against poverty. This is also the guide that we follow in every step of our work, developing the strategy, discharging responsibilities, assessing results, and testing effectiveness. It has been proved that putting people at the center guarantees that we make great achievements in poverty alleviation.

Third, whole-of-society mobilization. We have created a "three-in-one" model to fight poverty, namely designated funds, industrial support, and social programs. We have established partnerships between the east and west and facilitated the flow of talents, funds and technologies to poor areas. We encourage all social sectors to leverage their own strengths to help fight poverty, including through businesses, technology, education, culture, health programs, and consumption. In the past 8 years, governments at all levels contributed a total of 1.6 trillion RMB yuan as designated funding for poverty reduction. The central budget has put in 660.1 billion yuan. 255,000 working groups have been deployed to poor areas to help. Digital technology is fully used to carry out e-commerce, to help promote agricultural products in both domestic and international markets.

Fourth, a targeted strategy of poverty alleviation. To fight poverty, the key is to find the right cause and give the right remedy. Based on the situation of different regions and populations, we come up with different solutions, including development of industries, resettlement, ecological compensation, improvement of education, social security, etc. We have adopted policies and measures tailored to different villages, households and individuals, to ensure real results. With these efforts, poor areas are in a better position to achieve development. They have gained in development capacity and realized the transformation from "blood transfusion" to "blood-making".

China's achievement in fighting poverty is the result of the arduous efforts of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government and the Chinese people. Our efforts have also received strong support from other countries and international organizations. As President Xi Jinping said, "This achievement belongs to China, and the world. It contributes China's strength to the building of a global community with a shared future." Here, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Permanent Representatives and representatives of the UN agencies present and through you to your governments and your organizations.

Our victory in fighting poverty is only one step towards the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We still have a long way to go. China will enter a new development stage. We will implement the new development philosophy, and build a new development pattern with domestic circulation as the mainstay and with domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. We will resolutely guard the results of poverty eradication achieved so far. We will establish a five-year transition period for areas that have been lifted out of poverty, during which the preferential policies will be retained. We will launch a new journey to revitalize the countryside, take stronger measures to accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, and move towards high-quality and efficient agriculture, livable countryside, and prosperity for farmers.

China will work with all parties to deepen international cooperation in poverty reduction and South-South cooperation. We will continue to give strong support to the work of the UN and the Secretary-General, give full play to the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, vigorously promote global poverty reduction and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, accelerate a better recovery from COVID-19, and actively tackle the challenges of climate change. We will work hard to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity.

China, as a force for peace, a force for development, a force for progress, and a force for justice, will continue to make even greater contribution to maintaining world peace, promoting common development and upholding fairness and justice.

Thank you.

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