New UN framework will help China tackle poverty

Updated: 2016-01-12 20:57

By Zhang Yuchen(

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A new UN development assistance framework will help China tackle three national development priorities including reducing poverty in the population of 70 million people over the next five years.

The United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2016-2020 (UNDAF) provides a strategic direction for the UN system in China to support the country in three priority areas of poverty reduction and equitable development, improved and sustainable environment and enhanced global engagement.

In each area, particular focus will be placed on key underlying challenges posed by inequality, rapid urbanization and demographic changes and environmental degradation, said Alain Noudehou, the UN Resident Coordinator.

To address the first priority, aimed at helping more people particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged to enjoy improved living conditions and increased opportunities for economic, social and cultural development, the UN's strategic guidance will aid the government on policy implementation, releasing pilot projects at all levels and through its global commitment enhance cooperation.

China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty over 35 years through economic development and job creation, yet according to China's rural poverty line of 2,300 yuan, the total number of rural poor in 2014 was 70.17 million. The government set the goal to lift them out of poverty by 2020.

There are millions more living just above this threshold and at risk of slipping back. "Even though China has made a tremendous achievement in past decade, it is still an ambitious goal to nearly diminish more than 10 million people of poor population every year," said Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, at the panel of Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in China, "it might be considered to build some resilience for the population in poverty."

It is a good opportunity for China and UN to work together to tackle the issue, aligned with China's 13th Five-Year Plan and the first years of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders at the 70th General Assembly in September 2015, said Noudehou.

"To lift all 70 million people out of poverty is a tough assignment as well as a significant part of the UN's SDGs by 2030," said Wang Shouwen, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce, leading 27 Chinese ministries with the initiative of the new development assistance framework since last October. "China and UN have seen fruitful achievements and trusted partnership in the past 35 years. We look forward to more comprehensive cooperation with UN agencies and fundamentally new and innovative ways of thinking," Wang said.

The sustainable environment as the second priority in the framework starting at the same time as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference in December implementing the climate change goal, which has been thought the essential step at the time of China's economic dynamics.

As President Xi Jinping said at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, China will set up a fund, with an initial contribution of $2 billion, to support South-South Cooperation and assist developing countries in implementing their post-2015 development agenda adopted at the summit, the third priority focuses on China's global engagement in the next five years.

UN's 25 agencies will take part in the cooperation with China in all relevant fields and levels on the priorities over the next five years.

"China has been active and strong enough to help other nations as well as lift itself from poverty. Our experience of working with the South will be able to work with China to find a way to share the experience and identify the issues of those countries," said Noudehou.