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Ambassador Zhang Jun: Poverty Eradication Improved Women's Rights in China

2021/03/19

On 19 March, Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations co-hosted a webinar themed "Women and Poverty Eradication: the Promise of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action"in the margins of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the UN, and Ms. Åsa Regnér, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women attended the event and made keynote speeches. Near 150 participants from permanent missions, UN agencies, and civil society organizations were present.

Ambassador Zhang Jun's full statement is as follows:

The Chinese Mission is glad to co-host this side event on women and poverty eradication together with the EU delegation. Thank you all for your participation.

Colleagues,

The world is undergoing historic changes. While humankind has made tremendous progress, extreme poverty and gender inequality remain prevalent due to inadequate and uneven development. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges women face in education, health, and employment, especially the return to poverty of women caused by the pandemic. According to the report of UN Women, 96 million people worldwide will fall into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, among which 47 million are women.

Eradicating poverty among women is a critical area of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action and a focus of China's poverty reduction efforts.

On February 25, President Xi Jinping announced that China had achieved a complete victory in poverty eradication, with about 99 million rural poor lifted out of poverty, half of whom are women. This achievement has comprehensively advanced China's economic and social development and opened up broad prospects for achieving gender equality and sustainable development. This achievement is in itself a great human rights project that has improved women's rights in China. This achievement has also made important contributions and given a strong impetus to the global implementation of Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda.

Looking ahead, there is still a long way to go to eliminate absolute poverty and achieve gender equality worldwide. It is important that countries take into account their national conditions and explore ways that suit their own needs to lay the foundation and open up space for women's development. In general, priorities should be given to the following areas in alleviating poverty for women:

First, develop appropriate policies to make women's poverty alleviation a national commitment. Due to the inequalities, women are more likely to fall into poverty than men. Therefore, women's poverty alleviation should become a focus and be incorporated into top-level design and the whole process of policy formulation and implementation. Efforts should be made to draw up work plans at national and local levels, put in place sound work mechanisms, and establish strict assessment and monitoring systems to ensure real and reliable results of poverty alleviation for women.

Second, focus on key issues and address the practical difficulties faced by the most vulnerable groups. According to the FAO report, 80% of the extreme poor live in rural areas. Poor rural women are in a more vulnerable situation. We should adopt a targeted strategy, with women living in rural areas, remote and ethnic minority areas as the focus, and strive to resolve livelihood issues and provide gurantee for basic requirement..

Third, strengthen capacity building and improve the institutional guarantee for women's development. The fundamental way to lift women out of poverty is to empower them with skills. Special investment for women and girls in health care, education and training should be increased to improve their capacity and promote equal opportunities for employment. Financial security is crucial, and we should encourage and support women's entrepreneurship through special funds and small loans, so as to motivate women to become the driving force in eradicating poverty.

Fourth, build partnerships to form strong synergies in the whole society to support women's fight against poverty. Partnerships can be established between developed and less developed areas of a country to promote flow of talents, capital and technology to poor areas. Digital technology should be applied to promote development of the poor areas and facilitate markets connection through e-commerce.

Fifth, integrate women's poverty eradication into the overall framework of international development cooperation. The UN should play a key coordinating role, not only in addressing persistent issues such as violence, discrimination and poverty, but also in tackling new challenges such as gender digital divide. The World Bank, ILO and other international organizations should be given sufficient resources to carry out more projects in helping women fight poverty.

Achieving gender equality is our common goal. China is ready to work with all partners to build a world free from discrimination against women, a society of inclusive development, and a community with a shared future for all.

I wish this event a great success.

Thank you.

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