Asia-Pacific

China scores big results on UN millennium goals

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-19 07:55
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Guilin - China's balanced development is helping it achieve the goals it set at the beginning of the millennium, said a representative of the United Nations.

"With development its priority, China has set its own goal of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way," said Silvia Morimoto, deputy country director of United Nations Development Programme China.

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The millennium development goals were adopted at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, which was attended by the largest gathering of world leaders in history.

With 2015 as the deadline, the goals covered poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, the environment and a global partnership for development.

"China has achieved or over-achieved many (goals) ahead of time including poverty, hunger, illiteracy and under-five mortality rates, and it is hoped that China will achieve all the (goals) by 2015," said Morimoto.

Noting that China is a major developing country and home to one-fifth of the world's population, Morimoto said China's success contributes to global stability and development, as well as to the attainment of the goals around the world.

Measured by the common international poverty line of $1 per day, the share of China's rural population living in poverty was reduced to just over 10 percent in 2005, meeting the target well ahead of time, according to Morimoto.

The mortality rate of children under-five was about 2 percent in 2007, suggesting that China has achieved this goal ahead of time, said Morimoto.

"China has achieved the overall primary education target," said Morimoto. The central government has set up more ambitious goals of universalizing nine-year compulsory education, which includes both primary and junior secondary education.

Despite targets having been met or exceeded ahead of the deadline, however, China is still challenged by three areas: gender issues, sustainable development and inequality, Morimoto noted.

"The UN system in China has worked with the government of China to achieve this progress," said Morimoto.

With only five years left until the 2015 deadline, a UN summit will be held on Sept 20 in New York to accelerate progress toward reaching them.

Feeling the pressing deadline, Morimoto warned that the global economic slowdown will diminish the incomes of the poor, and the food crisis will raise the number of hungry people in the world and will push millions more into poverty.

"But there is still hope that we can combat these possibilities," Morimoto added, urging that "additional, strengthened or corrective action needed to be taken" in case an array of goals and targets are missed.