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Senior UN official says China "role model" of poverty reduction

Xinhua by William M. Reilly,October 08, 2017 Adjust font size:

A senior UN official said here on May 22 that China has made great strides in poverty reduction and could be a "role model" for other nations in this aspect.

Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs and chairman of UN Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development, made the remarks in a press press after the group issued a report at the UN headquarters.

According to the press release accompanying the report, Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects, "continued slow global economic growth" and ""the challenging global environment in 2016" are likely to leave about 6.5 percent of the world population extremely poor in 2030 without national actions supported by international cooperation."

Achieving poverty eradication by 2030 is the No. 1 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). The group noted that a continuation of the status quo would severely hamper efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Wu lauded China, among other countries, for reducing the number of population living in abject poverty from 50 million to 40 million in merely one year.

He said that Beijing has made remarkable progress and could "be a role model" for other nations to combat poverty.

According to the report, the global challenges includes "not only economic factors, such as challenging macroeconomic conditions, low commodity prices, slow trade growth, and volatile capital flows, but also humanitarian crises."

"Least developed countries (LDCs) will fall short by large margins," it read.

Wu said there were still 50 million people living in extreme poverty in China last year, "but the Chinese governments and people managed to pull 10 million people from extreme poverty in just one year."

"What is more encouraging is it is planning to help the other 40 million people out of extreme poverty by the year 2020. So, 10 million people every year for the next four years. That is 10 years ahead of the UN SDG first goal," he said.

"That is not only impressive for China but it's also a role model for the other countries in their efforts to eradicate extreme poverty," he added.

Wu explained that he has learned that accountability was key in the Chinese success story.

"I understand that over the next four years Chinese officials at all the levels, starting from the national level to the village level, each has the responsibility to help a certain number of people," he said, adding that he knew one official was responsible for three families of undetermined sizes to get them out of poverty.

Another point he made was the value of aggregate information.

"We are talking about extreme poverty, poor people," he said. "Why are they still remaining (poor)? Is it because of a disability? Is it because of a lack of education or of poor health where they could not afford medical treatment?"

"The Chinese government has targeted resolution based on the aggregate information, so that they know exactly the reasons behind the poverty of each family of those 40 million (people)," Wu said.

"This is another thing we learn through this process. I really have my fingers crossed for the success of the Chinese government. If they can do it, many other countries can be also successful."

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