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Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the Briefing on ECOSOC AMR Regional Ministerial Meeting for Asia and the Pacific to be held in Beijing, China

2009-04-14 18:25

Under Secretary-General Mr. Sha Zukang,

Distinguished colleagues,

It is my pleasure to join you today and share with you some information on the preparatory work of the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) Regional Ministerial Meeting for Asia and the Pacific region to be held on 29 and 30 April 2009, in Beijing China.

Public health is high on Chinese government's agenda in the pursuit of MDGs. A few days ago, my government issued a master plan for healthcare over the next decade which charted the first step in a highly anticipated reform of the medical system that aims to provide fair and affordable services for all citizens.

China supports the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review this year with the focus on "global public health". China has decided to make its "National Voluntary Presentation". A workshop in preparation for the "National Voluntary Presentation" was held on 26 February this year, and the Chinese experts are now in the process of drafting the National Report. A high-level official in charge of Public Health from China will participate in the AMR and will deliver China's National Voluntary Presentation on July 7 in Geneva.

To support the AMR and to mobilize more support for the attainment of health-related MDGS in the Asia and Pacific region, the Chinese Government, in cooperation with DESA, ESCAP and WHO, has the honor to host the Asia and Pacific Regional Ministerial Meeting focusing on "Health Literacy" from 29 to 30 April in Beijing.

Health literacy means ability to gain access to, understand and use health information; it is critical to the achievement of health, equity and development. It is important to note that the scale and scope of the problem of low literacy is daunting, not only in developing countries, but also in developed countries. We, as Member States, should identify and address the key challenges to increasing health literacy and commit ourselves in the promotion of the use of models of best practices that aim to increase health literacy.

The multi-stakeholder meeting to be held in Beijing will provide a precious opportunity for high-level public health officials of ESCAP Member States as well as experts from United Nations system, international and regional organizations, academia, private sector and civil societies to exchange experience and best practices in enhancing the role of public health education in combating diseases and improving people's health, especially under the current difficult circumstances when Member States are trying to cope with the negative impact of the global financial crisis and economic crisis, which erode the progress in development and public health. I believe the Asia and Pacific regional meeting will make great contribution to the ECOSOC AMR in July in Geneva.

NGOs play a critical role in the realization of the global development agenda, including public health. A NGO Public Health Awareness Forum was successfully held on 19 March 2009 in Beijing. This forum, bringing together NGOs from both within and outside China, concentrated on the issue of health awareness. Participants also discussed how to take a more integrated approach to deal with health issues. Its outcome will contribute to the discussion at the Beijing regional meeting on health literacy.

As the host country of the AMR regional ministerial meeting, the Chinese Government sincerely welcomes all the ESCAP Member States to be represented at high level at the Beijing meeting. We have sent out invitation letters to all Health Ministers of ESCAP Member States through both their respective embassies in Beijing and their Permanent Missions here in New York, and up to today, many countries have confirmed their participation including some health ministers.

To support the participation of Member States, the Chinese Government will cover the cost of travel and local expenses (including accommodation, meals and local transportation) for one representative of each of the 13 LDC countries and, will offer free accommodation and meals for one representative of each delegation from other Member States of ESCAP. Also the host will arrange transportation between airport and the hotel.

It would be highly appreciated if all ESCAP Member States could designate high-level representatives to the meeting. Please find in the folder distributed by the Secretariat an Information Note which contains detailed information about the venue, accommodation and other administrative arrangements. This note has already been sent to your distinguished embassies in Beijing.

Those countries who have not confirmed their participation could fill the registration form in the folder and return it A.S.A.P so that we could make VISA and transportation arrangements.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before concluding, I would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to DESA for all the help and assistance provided to my government in preparation for both the National Voluntary Presentation and the regional ministerial meeting. I'm looking forward to the active participation and valuable contribution from all ESCAP Members to the Beijing meeting.

I thank you.


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