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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the General Discussion of the 60th Session of the Commission for Social Development

2022-02-14 16:00

Madam Chair,

China supports the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Poverty is a deep-rooted problem of human society. The eradication of poverty and hunger is the dream of humankind, fundamental human rights, and the primary goal of the 2030 Agenda. COVID-19 has eroded the gains in global poverty reduction, resulting in 140 million people falling back into poverty and about 800 million people suffering from hunger. Some developing countries have been driven back to poverty and instability by the pandemic, and face many challenges in post-pandemic reconstruction. In developed countries, vulnerable groups have also fallen into difficulties, with increasing demand for redressing social injustice.

It is very timely and necessary for this session of the Commission to make poverty and hunger eradication a priority theme and discuss inclusive recovery and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. At present, the international community should focus on the four pressing issues.

First, food security. Meeting the basic needs of subsistence has always been the top priority for national governance. The recurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic and frequent incidents of extreme weather have caused a potential food crisis for at least 150 million people worldwide.

Food aid can provide an immediate relief, but not a fundamental solution. In the final analysis, the key is to address the affected countries' development problems related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers according to local conditions. Developed countries should honor their commitments on development assistance in a timely manner, and help developing countries build up their capacity and rural infrastructure. Farmers are the main actors in food production. All countries should heed their concerns, address their difficulties and help them become a backbone of economic development and social stability.

Second, protection of vulnerable groups. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly, the disabled and ethnic minorities.

Post-COVID reconstruction should adhere to the people-centered approach, so that people can truly be the masters of their own countries, participate in national governance, obtain decent jobs, enjoy basic public services, and continuously enhance their sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. Favorable policies should be adopted towards vulnerable groups, and sufficient, comprehensive and sustainable universal social protection systems should be built.

Third, sustainable development. Hit by COVID-19, the Human Development Index has dropped for the first time in 30 years. At the same time, unilateralism and protectionism have seriously worsened the  environment of international development cooperation, entailing more outstanding problems like a widening North-South gap, divergent recovery trajectories, development fault-lines and a technological divide.

In the face of this critical situation, it is more important than ever to achieve common development. Countries should strive to narrow the development divide, and promote greater coordination and synergy of existing development cooperation mechanisms; to cross the climate divide, and adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, with developed countries providing financial, technological and capacity-building support for developing countries; to bridge the digital divide, and help developing countries accelerate the building of digital technology facilities so that no one is left behind.

Fourth, social injustice. Amid the pandemic, the wealth of a few individuals has increased by $3.9 trillion, while 4 billion people do not have access to basic social protection. High-income countries have administered 61 times more doses per inhabitant than low-income countries. Social injustice not only affects stability, but also hinders economic recovery.

Eliminating inequality is the only way to enhance balanced, coordinated and inclusive development. There is no universal development path in the world, and each country has the right to choose the appropriate development path on the basis of equality and mutual respect. It is heartbreaking to see that there are still people dying from COVID-19 nowadays. It is imperative to bridge the immunization gap and ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries, and to reach the global target of vaccinating 70% of the population as quickly as possible.

Madam Chair,

As the global cause for development stands at a crossroads, President Xi Jinping solemnly proposed the Global Development Initiative at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, focusing on eight major areas including poverty reduction, and putting forward cooperation proposals and plans, so as to translate development consensus into pragmatic actions and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for more robust, greener and more balanced global development.

In January, China launched the Group of Friends of Global Development Initiative in New York, which was warmly received by more than 100 member states and international organizations. We welcome more member states and international organizations to join the Group, so that we can put the Initiative into practice and help countries, especially developing countries, get rid of poverty, eradicate hunger, and achieve common, transformative and green development.

China itself is also promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with concrete actions.

--We have brought a historic resolution to absolute poverty and built a moderately prosperous society on all fronts.

--We have put in place the world's largest social protection network and compulsory education system, and expanded China’s middle-income population by hundreds of millions.

--We have actively implemented the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, made a series of firm commitments to achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and adhered to the path of green, low-carbon and circular development.

--We have vigorously promoted South-South cooperation, provided development assistance to more than 160 developing countries, and advanced Belt and Road cooperation with 141 partner countries to promote common development through interconnectivity.

--We have supplied more than 2.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. For many developing countries, especially in Africa, the first batch of vaccines and the majority of the vaccines they have received came from China.

-- As the chair of BRICS this year, China has made poverty reduction and food security one of the working priorities.

Looking ahead, China is ready to work with all parties to promote the GDI, contribute to the faster implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and make unremitting efforts to together build a bright future for international development cooperation and a community with a shared future for mankind.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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