Poverty reduction and elimination is not only an urgent task facing individual countries but also a shared responsibility for the whole international community, Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday at a global meeting to brainstorm over ways to battle poverty.
Widespread poverty, which remains a severe threat to world peace and development, is caused by diverse social, historical and natural causes as well as being closely related with an unfair and irrational international political and economic order, Wen said at the opening of the Shanghai Conference on Scaling Up Poverty Reduction.
Poverty reduction is not only an economic problem but also a political one, said the Chinese premier, who put forward five propositions.
Wen said all countries should work together to maintain peace and stability, as well social stability at home, to create a convenient environment for poverty reduction work.
He also called on the establishment of a new international political and economic order that is fair and rational, adding that "all countries should respect each other and co-exist in peace politically, and work to achieve common development on the basis of equality and mutual benefits economically."
"The vast number of developing countries, in particular, should be able to share the fruits of prosperity from global development in a fair and equitable way," he said.
Thirdly, developed countries have a duty and responsibility to provide the developing nations with greater support.
During the current process of economic globalization, developing countries are in a disadvantaged position, Wen said. Developed countries should give more support to developing ones, further relieving their debts, speeding up technology transfers and getting rid of trade protectionism.
Being a populous developing country, China is ready to offer help to international poverty reduction efforts, Wen said. The Chinese government has elected to pledge another US$30 million to the Asian Development Fund in addition to pumping US$50 million into the African Development Fund.
Moreover, the Chinese government will contribute an extra US$20 million to the Asia Development Bank to create the "China Special Fund for Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation" in support of relevant endeavors in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
In order to stamp out poverty in developing countries, Wen stressed they should work hard by themselves as well enhance partnerships with each other to boost common development.
He said it is also necessary that international organizations, such as the World Bank and the United Nations, should mobilize and organize more people and organizations to combat global poverty reduction.
"It is necessary to sum up and popularize the poverty relief experience of developing countries and encourage both the North and the South to move together to honor their commitments to the Millennium Development Goals and the Monterey Census," Wen said.
Saying that China has done a good job in scaling up its efforts to reduce poverty over the past 20 years, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said the whole world has much to learn from China and at the same time China can learn from the world as well.
According to Wen, China has lifted more than 200 million people from poverty since it had adopted "large-scale, consistent and productive programs of poverty alleviation and rural development" in the early 1980s.
After Wen's keynote speech, Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia also made speeches at the conference to exchange experiences on scaling up the reduction of poverty in their own countries.
More than 1,000 people, mostly from developing countries, attended the conference and will examine nine months worth of development research including 100 case studies, a dozen field visit reports and results from extensive global discussions, said a news release of the World Bank.
Co-sponsored by the World Bank and the Chinese government, the two-day conference is scheduled to close today.
(China Daily May 27, 2004)