Opening remarks at Workshop on Poverty Reduction and Cultural Development for Ethnic Minorities

21 May 2013

Speech by Mr. Patrick Haverman, UNDP Deputy Country Director
In Xinjiang Province

Respected Mr. Yang Jianqiang, Ms. Yang Fan, Mr. Zhao Zhongyi, Mr. Zhou Weidong, distinguished provincial representatives, friends and colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to join you here today at the Workshop on Poverty Reduction and Cultural Development for Ethnic Minorities. This workshop provides us a valuable opportunity to get together with participants from three UNDP projects from Yunnan, Xinjiang, Hubei, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia and Hainan, and exchange experiences with each other on promoting culture-based development for ethnic minorities.
 
The objectives of this workshop is to review the project impact on poverty alleviation and ethnic minority culture-based development in our pilot provinces and China, to share and disseminate the project results, to capitalize experiences and exchange views, to analyze key development issues, identify common and specific challenges, and to propose next step actions. I hope that all of you will actively participate and contribute to this important exchange. Meanwhile, the workshop will also provide capacity building in community organizations management and business planning and operation to promote ethnic minority culture-based development.

UNDP works with national partners to improve the livelihoods and promote socio-economic progress of ethnic minority communities. The projects provide a comprehensive development model, promoting community-based socio-economic development to empower ethnic minorities to increasingly participate in the country’s cultural, socio-economic and political life, and benefit from the country’s overall rapid growth. And all these endeavors are built around the communities’ own cultural identities. At the same time, such efforts also successfully contribute to women’s development and empowerment, in particular in ethnic minority areas.

Under the projects, intensive communication and advocacy efforts have contributed significantly to raising public awareness on ethnic minority development and broadening market channels for their products.

Most importantly, the projects established the connection between national, provincial and county level policy making and implementation, and the model of such vertical coordination as manifested throughout the project implementation presents a significant success in upgrading the community pilot into provincial and national level policy making process.

We would encourage that this model will also be increasingly replicated to other provinces and even shared with other developing countries facing similar development issues and challenges.

As for the sustainability of the project results, further policy discussion and dialogue should be encouraged, involving local government authorities, financial institutions and private foundations etc. to explore possible supporting mechanisms to help the community organizations and associations in accumulating capital funds, which is fundamental for their sustainable development.

It would also be important to sustain the project results by making further efforts to better connect the products to the market. Broader partnership needs to be identified and strengthened with private sector, experienced NGOs, tourism developers and fashion/ design industry etc. In other words, a sustainable market would be crucial for the sustainability of the development results and the model established under the cooperation projects.

I would like to once again thank SEAC, CICETE and all of you who are present here today for your dedicated work and wonderful achievements. Please be assured of continued UNDP support to the important cause of ethnic minority development.

I wish the workshop all success and wish you an enjoyable stay in the beautiful Xinjiang.

Thank you very much! Xie Xie!