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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the General Assembly Thematic Debate on MDGs
New York, 3 April 2008


Statement by H.E. Ambassador Liu Zhenmin
Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations
at the General Assembly Thematic Debate on MDGs

New York, 3 April 2008

Mr. President,

The Chinese Delegation wishes to thank you for putting together this thematic debate on the Millennium Development Goals- MDGs. As a developing country, China knows full well the importance of achieving the MDGs. China highly values the vital role played by the United Nations in promoting the implementation of the MDGs.

Mr. President,

To keep poverty and disease far away and develop the full potential of all has always been the pursuit of humanity for generations. The MDGs represent the most basic development goals that are time-bound and can be monitored. It has been 8 years since the MDGs were adopted. Now they have become the core of global development agenda. As the Millennium Development Goals Report 2007 suggests, however, progress in meeting these goals is uneven and too slow.

The basic development indicators represented by the MDGs are mainly targeted at the impoverished and groups whose basic needs are not met. At the same time, these indicators are also tasks for the entire society. Without the concerted efforts of the entire society, those who are lagged behind will find it hard to catch up. As the year 2015 is approaching, the international community needs to take integrated and effective measures with a high sense of mission and urgency to quicken the implementation of the MDGs. In this connection, the Chinese side wishes to make the following points on how to implement the MDGs:

First, focus on priorities while bearing in mind the overall interests. China appreciates Mr. President's decision to make poverty eradication, education and health themes of the debate. These three aspects, both mutually reinforcing and mutually restraining, are indeed cores of the MDGs. It is China's view that, in implementing the MDGs, poverty reduction should remain on top of the agenda and be used to promote development in other areas. As most poverty population live in rural areas, it is imperative to give preference to the rural poor.

Second, strengthen capacity building of developing countries. Economic globalization represents new opportunities, but many developing countries are caught by "poverty trap". It is therefore imperative for developing countries to strengthen their capacity and accelerate development by cashing in on the opportunities that come with globalization. To achieve such a goal, developing countries' efforts are very important, but external support is also indispensable. The international community is duty bound to create an enabling external environment and level the playing field for developing countries to engage in global trade and gain their due benefits in the process of globalization. The Doha Round should truly be a "development round" that offers developing countries opportunities to promote development through trade.

Third, expand the partnership among all stakeholders to support the efforts of developing countries. For most developing countries, to achieve the MDGs in time requires strong financial and technical support. Developed countries should show sincerity in fulfilling their commitment of using 0.7% of GNI for ODA. The top priority now is to reverse the downward trend of ODA as soon as possible. Developing countries have a fine tradition of helping each other. Looking forward, they should further expand South-South cooperation, increasing support to the LDCs and African countries in particular. In addition, flexible means should be employed to encourage the involvement of the civil society and private sector and mobilize the entire society to promote development.

Fourth, give full play to the role of the United Nations. We always advocate the establishment of a MDGs monitoring and evaluation mechanism to gauge the progress made by specific countries and monitor the fulfillment of international commitments. The UN system has its unique advantage among developing countries. The UN agencies should bear in mind the priority areas of individual developing countries and help them resolve the most pressing problems through financial and technical support and capacity building. The World Bank and the IMF need to coordinate and better cooperate with the United Nations, take full account of the needs of developing countries and ensure that their policies are consistent and mutually complementary with those of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

As the most populous developing country, China has worked vigorously and earnestly to implement the MDGs. China is the first country to reach the target of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty. The target of achieving universal primary education, among others, was met ahead of schedule in China. Thanks to three decades of reform, opening up and economic growth, China's poverty population in rural areas has reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 21.48 million now and poverty rate has fallen from 30.7% to 2.3%. The nationwide nine year compulsory education now covers 98% of the population.

Of course, China's economic foundation is not strong and the fruit of its development must be shared by 1.3 billion people. China's per capita GDP still ranks behind 100th place in the world. About 100 million Chinese still live on less than one dollar a day. As a country that has to ensure the survival and development of 1/5 of the world population with merely 7% of the world's arable land and one quarter of natural resources in per capita terms, China is faced with tremendous pressure in population, employment, poverty reduction, resources, energy and environmental protection. There is still a long way to go to ensure that "development is shared by all".

China attaches great importance to South-South cooperation, and has done what it can to support other developing countries in achieving common progress. Over the years, through grant, interest-free loans and preferential loans, China has assisted more than 100 developing countries in developing various projects that have a direct bearing on the life and work of local people, in areas such as industry, agriculture, transportation, communications, culture, education, health and public facilities. In addition, China sends technicians to provide technical services and guidance to local people in compliance with arrangements with countries concerned. China has also sent medical teams to some developing countries. Now 48 medical teams with over 1,200 medical personnel are working in 47 countries. This assistance has helped improve the life of the local people, and promote economic development and achievement of the MDGs in recipient countries. As the Chinese economy and ability grow, we will continue to engage in and expand as appropriate South-South cooperation to bring benefits to more people.

Our experience shows that the MDGs are not only imperative, but attainable targets. Opportunities await us. China will continue to work with all other countries to make it happen.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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