Beijing, China

17 October 2006

Secretary-General's message to China Poverty Eradication Awards Ceremony [delivered by Mr. Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator]

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all participants of this second China Poverty Eradication Awards ceremony.

Six years ago, world leaders made a commitment to an ambitious but achievable set of human uplift measures known as the Millennium Development Goals. Since then we have made real but insufficient progress towards achieving them.

China, however, has stood out. You are already well on your way to meeting most of the Millennium Development Goals. Your remarkable economic growth has helped to reduce poverty on a scale that is unprecedented in human history. You have raised living standards and made strides in the fight against hunger, disease and illiteracy. That is good news not only for your country, but for all of us. Because of China's size, the way it performs on achieving the Millennium Development Goals is crucial to how the world as a whole does in reaching them.

While China's progress is undeniable, even it faces significant challenges. The benefits of economic growth have been unevenly distributed. Prosperity has bypassed many rural poor, and the gap between different segments of society has grown wider. Correcting this imbalance requires a strong commitment by each and every Chinese to the “putting people first” philosophy underlying both the MDGs and China's own Xiaokang principles for balanced development.

That is why today's awards ceremony, with its emphasis on joining hands against deprivation, has such strong relevance for China and for the world. Eradication of poverty is within our reach, but it requires the engagement of all of society –globally as well as nationally –in a broad and sustained partnership for development.

These Awards testify to the power of that message, and its recipients are inspirations to us all. I congratulate them, and send my best wishes to all of you for a successful conference.