Wen Jiabao Delivers Keynote Speech at U.N. High-Level Meeting on MDGs
On September 25, 2008, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a keynote speech at the U. N. High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Wen comprehensively briefed on China’s achievements in poverty eradication as well as its contributions to the cause of reducing global poverty. He also elaborated on the proposals of the Chinese government on pushing for the fulfillment of MDGs and declared the further moves to be taken by the country.
“Since 1978, we in China have accelerated development mainly with our own efforts and through reform and opening-up,” said Wen in the speech. As a result, China has brought down the number of people in absolute poverty from 250 million to 15 million in less than 30 years.
Wen said that China has honored its commitments to the Millennium Declaration and done what it can to help some least developed countries.
Meanwhile, the premier pointed out, about one billion people in the world still live below the poverty line. To attain the goals of the Millennium Declaration globally remains a long and uphill journey.
Wen called on the leaders of all countries to join hands to shoulder greater responsibilities and pay closer attention to and show more compassion for the poor people in the world. Wen called for stepping up international assistance. Developed countries in particular should assume the responsibility of helping underdeveloped countries. Assistance should be provided selflessly, with no conditions attached. It is important to improve the working mechanisms for the development goals in the Millennium Declaration. It is necessary to coordinate the efforts of international organizations to jointly overcome the difficulties facing developing countries, including the immediate challenges of the turbulent financial and economic situation and soaring oil and food prices.
Wen declared that to facilitate the attainment of the MDGs, China stands ready to take the following actions:
1. In the coming five years, China will double the number of agricultural technology demonstration centers it builds for developing countries to 30, increase the number of agricultural experts and technicians it sends overseas by 1,000 to double the original figure, and provide agricultural training opportunities in China for 3,000 people from developing countries.
2. China will contribute 30 million U.S. dollars to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to establish a trust fund for projects and activities designed to help developing countries enhance agricultural productivity.
3. China will increase exports and aid to countries facing food shortages.
4. In the coming five years, China will give 10,000 more scholarships to developing countries and offer training programs exclusively for 1,500 principals and teachers from African countries. China will ensure that the 30 hospitals it builds for African countries are properly staffed and equipped and train 1,000 doctors, nurses and managers for the recipient countries.
5. China will cancel the outstanding interest-free loans extended to least developed countries that mature before the end of 2008 and give zero-tariff treatment to 95 percent of products from the relevant least developed countries.
6. In the coming five years, China will develop 100 small-scale clean energy projects for developing countries, including small hydropower, solar power and bio-gas projects.
Wen finally expressed belief that so long as all countries make united efforts to overcome the current difficulties, the MDGs will surely be fulfilled.