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ECOSOC President: China Sets Example for Global Anti-poverty Efforts

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China's great success in reducing poverty made it a good example for global anti-poverty efforts, president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said in a recent interview prior to the upcoming summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

"China is a model that countries should simulate to develop economy," Hamidon Ali, who is also Malaysian Ambassador to the UN, said.

Ali said China has its own development path, which helps it remain on track in attaining most of its MDGs, the eight globally-agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

"China has followed the opening-up policy. The liberalization of the market, putting in the infrastructure, and putting in the right policy mix in terms of taxation and regulating the industries...all these have helped generate the growth and that growth contributed to the poverty reduction," Ali said.

According to UN reports, global progress on poverty-reduction was largely due to the reduction of hunger in China. Statistics from the UN Development Program show that China has now achieved the target of halving the number of poor people from the 1990 figure of 85 million.

The MDG report 2010 issued in June said the fastest growth and sharpest reductions in poverty continue to be recorded in Eastern Asia. Poverty rates in China are expected to fall to around 5 percent by 2015.

"It is clear that the Chinese government has things done for the benefits of ordinary people," Ali said.

The MDGs were formed in 2000 at the Millennium Summit in New York, with world leaders pledging to do their utmost to try to attain the goals by 2015. The targets include slashing poverty, fighting disease, halting environmental degradation and boosting health.

Nearly 140 heads of State and government, as well as dozens of representatives from civil society groups, foundations and the private sector, will convene at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday to begin a three-day summit during which they will discuss the progress made so far and how to advance the ambitious targets.

Ali said the upcoming summit is an important opportunity to reassess where all the countries are, especially developing countries, on implementation of the eight targets.

"For some, they have made it, but some even have a setback because of the current economic and financial downturn," he said.

Ali encouraged China, owing to its substantial resources, to share its experience of development in a bid to help other developing countries.

"China has gone through the process and it knows what are the necessary things ... what tools, what policies are required to reduce poverty, "he said.

"So, I would say, forget about ideology, forget about politics, but focus on economic development."

Though deeply impressed by China's anti-poverty achievements, Ali also mentioned the imbalance of economic development in the vast country, adding that it remained a challenge for the government to deal with the population living in poverty in its western and remote provinces.

"We cannot eradicate poverty a hundred percent, but at least we can reduce the number as abject poverty to a very minimum level," Ali said, noting that China is trying its best to that end.

(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2010)

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