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Nation asked to join UN international group efforts

By ZHOU JIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-10-21 11:13
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A United Nations representative has called on Beijing to join hands with the international organization to address common challenges and promote global development.

Matteo Marchisio

China has made incredible achievements domestically, and the next bench-test for the country is to contribute to solving problems facing the world and promoting global public goods, Matteo Marchisio, representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in China and Mongolia, told the Vision China event on Wednesday.

As a specialized UN agency, the fund provides financial support to developing countries to reduce poverty, improve food security and promote rural development. China joined the agency in 1980.

The UN has a key role in promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction, Marchisio said, adding that what matters most is that the organization represents the "conscience" of the world.

In addition to providing funding for development projects and technical assistance to developing countries, Marchisio explained that the UN defines the vision of development, which is embodied in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Those goals range from poverty and hunger alleviation and equal access to education and health to gender equality and environmental sustainability.

"The UN tells us what humanity can aspire to and constantly reminds us of the challenges we need to face and overcome to achieve that vision," he said.

He called on China and the UN to pool their resources, energy and commitments toward addressing challenges such as peace and security, the reduction of biodiversity and climate change.

Working in China since 2014, Marchisio has traveled to poor and remote villages in provinces including Qinghai and Sichuan, where he was impressed by infrastructure improvements, the provision of electricity and reforestation efforts.

He said that he has seen for himself the new roads in mountainous areas that now connect villages to towns and cities, remote villagers that now have access to electricity and water and once bare mountains that are now covered in trees.

The most striking change during his visits, Marchisio stressed, is the increased optimism, confidence and hope for the future shown by the people-something that is impossible to measure, yet which is both powerful and telling of China's development.

"What poverty reduction and development bring is not only material change and improvement, it is also reflects in the change of the attitude of people," he said.

Poverty has long been a formidable challenge for humanity. According to Marchisio, in 1990, about 2 billion people-more than one-third of the global population at that time-lived on less than $1.90 per day, a number that dropped sharply to just over 700 million in 2015.

China was the first country to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015, and the outstanding global progress in alleviating poverty in past decades can be attributed to the progress China has made in reducing poverty domestically, Marchisio concluded.

China's poverty alleviation work has continued since 2015. At the end of last year, the country reached its goal of eliminating extreme poverty, with 98.99 million people in rural areas who were living below the current poverty threshold all emerging from it.

That made China the first country to achieve the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals-ending poverty-10 years ahead of the deadline.

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