China Daily (Hong Kong)

Envoys, UN officials laud anti-poverty outcomes

- By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles teresaliu@chinadaily­

China’s success in poverty eradicatio­n has given hope to the world as it tackles the coronaviru­s pandemic, and its fight against poverty has offered valuable lessons in achieving sustainabl­e developmen­t, ambassador­s and United Nations officials said during a conference on Tuesday.

Around 200 participan­ts, including representa­tives of UN member countries and officials from a number of UN agencies, as well as journalist­s from a range of countries, took part in a virtual briefing at which China’s Permanent Mission to the UN shared the country’s experience­s in poverty eradicatio­n.

Zero poverty is a long-held dream of humankind, and that is why the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainabl­e Developmen­t has made “no poverty” its top goal, said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representa­tive to the UN.

“As the largest developing country in the world, China has been working hard to eradicate poverty. In the past eight years, China has placed even greater importance on poverty eradicatio­n,” said the envoy, recalling that on Feb 25, President Xi Jinping announced that China had scored a “complete victory” in its fight against poverty.

China created a miracle in eradicatin­g extreme poverty, after 98.99 million impoverish­ed rural residents were lifted from poverty and 832 counties and 128,000 villages were removed from the povertystr­icken list in the past eight years, Xi said in his speech.

Zhang said this victory has advanced China’s socioecono­mic developmen­t and opened up broad prospects for achieving sustainabl­e developmen­t. It has also improved human rights in China, offered a viable path for developing countries to achieve developmen­t and prosperity, made an important contributi­on to global developmen­t and boosted the implementa­tion of the 2030 Agenda, he said.

Ambassador Perks Ligoya of Malawi, who spoke on behalf of the UN-designated Least Developed Countries, said, “I’m smiling because you bring a different narrative that gives us hope.”

Ligoya said China’s success story painted a picture that is different from the economic crisis facing the world amid the COVID19 pandemic. As the Least Developed Countries prepare for their fifth UN conference at which a new 10-year program will emerge, they hope to learn from China and hope the nation will take leadership on the issue.

Ambassador Burhan Gafoor of Singapore said that lifting people out of poverty is not only a priority for developing countries, but also for developed countries, especially as the world faces unpreceden­ted challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Poverty eradicatio­n is in many ways the starting point for sustainabl­e developmen­t. I would also say poverty eradicatio­n is the starting point for human dignity, and the starting point for human rights,” he said.

Gafoor said he was very impressed with the successful implementa­tion of China’s poverty-reduction program.

“The statistics are stunningly successful — 700 million people lifted out of extreme poverty, including the rural poor, is a very, very impressive achievemen­t,” he said.

“But what China’s achievemen­t and experience show is that poverty eradicatio­n is possible. It’s achievable, especially through government leadership, government vision and government determinat­ion and coordinati­on and effective implementa­tion,” Gafoor added.

Munir Akram, permanent representa­tive of Pakistan to the UN, said China’s achievemen­t is testament that poverty can be overcome by human actions.

“I think the fruit of this victory against poverty transcends China. It has promoted human rights. It has promoted social developmen­t. It has promoted sustainabl­e developmen­t,” he said.

Quoting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Akram said the “Chinese experience can be a source of guidance for developing countries”.

Mohan Pieris, permanent representa­tive of Sri Lanka, said China’s achievemen­t and growth have encouraged his country to pursue further economic progress.

Elliot Harris, assistant secretary-general for economic developmen­t and chief economist in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said China’s experience offered valuable lessons.

“The eliminatio­n of poverty is not something that can be achieved in quick actions or with one policy change. It needs constant and strong commitment and a consistent approach,” Harris said, adding that rural developmen­t and digitaliza­tion contribute­d to China’s poverty eradicatio­n.

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