|Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan at the Third Committee of the 59th Session of the G.A. on Social Development (Items 93, 94 and 95)
Please allow me, at the outset, to congratulate you on your assumption of the Chairmanship of the Third Committee. I am confident that under your outstanding leadership, this session will achieve complete success. I would like to assure you that the Chinese delegation will cooperate fully with you and the Bureau in your work.
The adoption of the 1995 Copenhagen Declaration and the Program of Action has laid an important foundation for international cooperation in the area of social development. In the past ten years, countries have made relentless efforts to implement the Declaration and the Program of Action and have achieved many positive results. The UN has also done a great deal of work in this field. On the other hand we note with concern that due to various reasons, we still fall far short of the goals set out by the World Summit for Social Development and the UN Millennium Summit. Disease, poverty and unemployment continue to plague many developing countries. How to translate our consensus into political will and concrete actions is a severe test for the international community. The report of the Secretary-General to the current session of the GA, and the report submitted by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization entitled "A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All" have made comprehensive analyses of the existing problems in social development, and have made a series of pertinent observations and recommendations on poverty eradication, employment, equality and justice, and on how to overcome the negative impact of globalization. We appreciate those reports.
The Chinese delegation believes that coordinated and balanced social development not only bears directly on the well-being of a nation, but also forms an important basis for maintaining international peace and security. In order to promote social development of all countries and achieve the MDGs, the international community should make greater efforts in the following areas:
1. The creation of an environment of peace and stability at the national and international levels. Without peace and stability, development cannot be assured and there can be no poverty eradication to speak of. All countries should vigorously commit themselves to safeguarding world peace and stability and achieving internal social stability, thus creating an enabling environment for development and poverty eradication.
2. The promotion of the establishment of an international economic order favorable to a balanced world development, and the elimination of the negative impact of globalization on world economic and social development.
3. Rich countries' offering a helping hand to the poor countries is a moral norm in the family of nations, and a requirement for the common development of mankind. In the process of economic globalization, developing countries often find themselves at a disadvantage. Developed countries should pay more attention to those countries' difficulties by honoring their commitments, offering debt relief, accelerating technology transfer and abandoning trade protectionism.
4. Both developed and developing countries should actively explore ways of resolving the contradiction between productivity gains and employment creation. Effective social security systems should be set up to help vulnerable groups better integrate into society, so that social justice, equality and fairness can be genuinely attained.
5. The bodies and organizations of the UN system should undertake greater responsibilities in the area of social development, take stock of the best practices of all countries, promote joint North-South actions, declare war on poverty, unemployment and disease, and implement the MDGs and the commitments of the Monterrey Consensus.
Poverty eradication, working toward full employment and the establishment of a social security system tailored to the national conditions are the Chinese government's priorities in the area of social development. Through our unremitting efforts, China's rural population living in absolute poverty declined from 80 million in 1993 to 29 million in 2003, thereby realizing ahead of time the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people living in poverty. At the end of 2003, more than 256 million people were employed in cities and towns, with an unemployment rate of 4.3%. The Chinese government is also vigorously committed to establishing and improving China's social security system and has achieved considerable progress in that aspect. In the future, the Chinese government will continue to make its contribution to the maintenance of world peace and the promotion of common development by putting people's interests first and making unswerving efforts to reduce poverty in China, persevere in peaceful development, and advance towards prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.