Representatives from China and the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday promised that they would work
together to promote social development and poverty alleviation in
A proposal on poverty reduction was issued after two days of
discussions among more than 100 Chinese and ASEAN officials,
scholars and entrepreneurs at the First China-ASEAN Forum on Social
Development and Poverty Reduction in the southern Chinese city of
Acknowledging the region is "one of those that suffer from
serious poverty in the world", the proposal identified poverty
alleviation as a "common mission for policy-makers, researchers and
practitioners in China and the ASEAN."
The proposal stressed the importance of policy-makers, vowing to
give them full roles to play to collect all necessary resources,
but saying they should strengthen the accountability and
transparency in the implementation of poverty reduction
The document said that researchers from China and the ASEAN will
increase theoretic research and assist policy-makers in producing
effective polices of poverty reduction and social development.
It also called on developed countries in and out of the region
to further open their markets and increase technology transfer to
improve trade and accelerate industrial transformation, and give
developing countries more support in economic development,
infrastructure construction and capacity building.
For affiliated international organizations, the proposal stated
that they should increase input regarding poverty reduction and
social development projects and enhance aid effectiveness.
"Poverty reduction...should be based on economic growth and
structural optimization, and guaranteed by improved public
services, including public information networks, social security
systems, plus specialized poverty reduction interventions and
relief services," the proposal stated.
It recommended that China and ASEAN members jointly establish a
cooperative mechanism among policy-makers, researchers, enterprises
and non-governmental organizations to ensure that projects and
policies would be more scientific and reasonable, and to avoid any
overlapping and duplication during implementation.
China and the ASEAN decided to carry out a series of follow-up
activities according to the proposal. Taking the degree of poverty
in different countries into consideration, priorities will be
identified to give the most needy counties the earliest and utmost
The two sides also agreed to turn the forum into an annual
event, concentrating each year's discussions on theories, research
methodologies, and policy information.
China has made remarkable progress in poverty alleviation in the
past 30 years. The rural population in absolute poverty has been
reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 21.5 million last year. The
ratio of national poverty in the country now stands at 2.3 percent,
compared with 30.7 percent in late 1978, according to Fan Xiaojian,
deputy chief of the State Council Leading Group for Poverty
Alleviation, China's national organization in charge of poverty
"The Chinese standard of poverty is relatively lower than the
international benchmark. In fact, China has 100 million people
living on less than one US dollar a day, a poverty line set by the
World Bank," said Fan at the forum, one of the main focuses of the
annual China-ASEAN Expo ending Wednesday.
In his report Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged on behalf of
the 16th CPC Central Committee earlier this month that a reasonable
and orderly pattern of income distribution will be established,
with middle-income people making up the majority, with the bulk of
absolute poverty eliminated in China.
(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2007)