United Nations officials Sunday highly praised the active role that China's private enterprises play in alleviating poverty around the country through the Guangcai Program.
Frederick C. Dubee, senior adviser at the UN secretary-general's Global Compact Executive Office, said in Beijing yesterday: "The Program is a very good example of how non-governmental businesses aid the poor successfully under the leadership of government.''
The UN representative said Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on enterprises around the world to help improve the social and human environment and there have been responses to the call around the world, especially in China.
Dubee was addressing the International Conference on Poverty Alleviation, which was jointly sponsored by the China Society for Promoting the Guangcai Program and the United Nations Development Program.
Initiated by private entrepreneurs in 1994, the Guangcai Program aims to provide financing for China's poverty-stricken regions in their struggle to improve conditions there.
The Program gained consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council in 2000, becoming the fifth Chinese non-governmental organization to gain such consultative status with the global organization.
Khalid Malik, UN Development Program representative in China, yesterday said no government on its own could solve all problems related to poverty.
He said poverty relief is not only a social responsibility for enterprises but also represents business opportunities for them.
By the end of September, the Program had distributed 52.4 billion yuan (US$6.3 billion) through 9,765 projects, with nearly 4.6 million people benefiting.
14,407 entrepreneurs from the Chinese mainland, the Taiwan Province and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions have funded the Program.
Gao Hongbin, vice-chairman of the State Council Leading Group for Poverty Reduction and Development said that, by 2010, the central government plans to have completed its plan to improve the lives of approximately 28 million rural people who currently live in extreme poverty without adequate food or clothing.
(China Daily September 29, 2003)