UN and China Mark International Poverty Eradication Day with Major Forum
17 October, Beijing— A high-level forum was held today in Beijing to mark the 19th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, bringing together government leaders, policy makers, development practitioners, and other members of the international community, to exchange ideas on how best to accelerate and achieve sustainable poverty reduction in China and globally. More than 200 representatives from over 30 countries attended the 2011 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum, which was hosted by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development of China and the UN System in China, and co-organised by International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (IPRCC) and UNDP China.
It is the fifth time that this global annual event has been held in China, and it comes at a critical juncture on the road to global development. With only four years to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and with less than a decade left to realise an all-round Xiaokang society in China, those in attendance at the forum reflected upon the very significant progress that has been made to date, as well as the challenges that lie ahead. Meanwhile, the need to put people at the centre of inclusive and sustainable development policies was also discussed.
“Today’s observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, with its theme of ‘From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development’ reminds us that the fundamental purpose of development is to advance the wellbeing of all people,” said Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator in a keynote speech which she delivered at the event. “We must therefore embrace a new development paradigm that emphasises the quality of growth and recognises the multiple dimensions of poverty alleviation within human development.”
Ms. Clark reminded leaders that while enormous progress has been made, particularly in East Asia, nearly a quarter of the world is missing out on the benefits of global progress. She also spoke of the need to provide greater assistance to the 1.44 billion people living on less than US $1.25 a day, as well as the importance of sharing China’s experiences and ongoing innovations with other countries as they seek to design their own inclusive and sustainable pathways to development.
“As China strives to achieve even more impressive human development outcomes through its renewed emphasis on the quality of growth, it will also be setting an example for the world,” she said.
The morning session of the meeting of this influential global platform included a panel discussion led by Minister Fan Xiaojian, on emerging economies and global change, and the importance of international and regional cooperation for poverty alleviation. With two thirds of the world’s poorest people now living in middle-income countries, the need to respond to new and emerging development priorities ranked high on the forum agenda.
Joining Minister Fan on this panel, were Professor James Mirrless, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in Economic Science (1996), Mr. Jomo Sundaram, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Ms. Wang Yuan, Chief Economist of the China Development Bank, and a number of other senior officials.
As part of the Forum programme, two parallel sessions were held in the afternoon on the themes of “Macro-Planning for the Empowerment of the Poor” and “Social Policies and Social Management for Improving Overall Well-Being”. These sessions sought to highlight the fact that economic growth alone is no longer capable of supporting sustainable poverty reduction efforts, and focused on the disproportionate impact that climate change, the depletion of natural resources, rapid urbanisation, and urban poverty are having on the poor.