Envoys, UN officials laud anti-poverty outcomes

2021-03-04 12:03:50

Jijue Jizhu (1st R) poses for a group photo with his family members in the yard of their new home in Southwest China's Sichuan province, Feb 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua] 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 poverty-stricken 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 COVID-19 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. Chen Yingqun in Beijing and Xinhua contributed to this story.