MDGs Report 2008

17 Oct 2008


MDGs: China's Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals 2008

In 2008 the world marks the mid-point of the 15 year period for achievement of the global Millennium Development Goals. On this occasion many world leaders are gathering in New York to review progress that has been made since the historic Millennium Declaration of 2000, and reconfirm their commitment to greater attainments between now and 2015. At such a moment this report, which assesses China’s MDG accomplishments and lays out new challenges for the future is timely and significant both for China and for the entire world.

This report presents China’s outstanding record of rapid and broad-based development over the 30 years since the beginning of the reform and opening up era in China in 1978. China’s poverty reduction achievements have been particularly remarkable. Since 1990 the number of poor people in China has fallen by more than 300 million, a great contribution to global progress toward MDG 1. In fact it is clear that without China’s reduction in poverty it would be impossible for mankind to achieve the MDG target of halving the share of the population living in poverty. Even before 1990 China had already started sustained increases in standards of living. Since 1978 more than 600 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, an achievement of staggering proportions.

With many MDGs already achieved and most others firmly on track China is moving beyond several of the MDG targets and setting more ambitious social goals suitable for an advancing middle income society. In its medium-term 5-year plans and in its longer term vision of achieving an all-around Xiao Kang society by the year 2020 the government is placing great emphasis on reducing widening internal inequalities, particularly in terms of income and access to good quality health care and education services. As part of China’s emphasis on a balanced, scientific approach to development, the government is steadily increasing its investment of human and financial resources in the less advanced interior regions, particularly in the Western provinces, where human development indicators are still well behind those in the wealthier coastal regions.

In the area of poverty alleviation too, even after far exceeding the MDG target, there is still the vital task of lifting China’s remaining poor people out of poverty, and ensuring that they and others who have risen out of poverty are protected by safety nets that prevent them from sliding back when hit by the loss of a job, or an illness, or a natural disaster. China has already demonstrated that it is determined to move strongly to build on its earlier achievements in poverty alleviation, and confront head-on these remaining challenges.

This report is the product of a strong collaboration between the UN in China and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which coordinated inputs from a large number of government agencies.

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