United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday congratulated China for "the enormous progress" it had achieved towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In a message to the High-Level International Conference on the Millennium Development Goals that opened in Beijing Thursday, Annan said that by opening the conference to other countries and inviting international speakers, China is demonstrating a readiness to share its success with others and to learn from them in return.
"This is in the true spirit of partnership called for in the Millennium Declaration," he said.
At the Millennium Summit held at the headquarters of the United Nations in September 2000, heads of state and government from 189 UN member countries adopted the Millennium Declaration, making a commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the end of 2015.
Ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, the MDGs are now an essential yardstick for the international community to measure the progress scored by different countries in this regard.
Despite "enormous progress", Annan also reminded that "considerable challenges lie ahead" for China.
Annan said the appraisals of China's progress on reaching the MDGs infers growing challenges of HIV/AIDS and other health problems, rising inequality and environmental degradation.
However, "these challenges are by no means unique to China. They are regional and global, and countries must work together to resolve them," Annan said.
So far, overall progress on the MDGs has been uneven, Annan acknowledged. "While a number of countries have prospered at an unprecedented pace, others have regressed and need urgent attention."
He went on to say that the UN system is moving forward in four key areas to provide new knowledge and ideas to drive nationally owned development strategies.
Firstly, the United Nations is providing support for comprehensive reporting, both through an annual, global update on overall progress, and through country-by-country MDG reports to measures and benchmark progress, Annan said.
Secondly, he said the United Nations has set up a Millennium Project, drawing on a broad range of intellectual power from the North and the South, to identify new solutions and ideas on how to accelerate progress toward the MDGs.
In addition, said Annan, the United Nations has launched a Millennium Campaign to build and sustain a real popular movement to support the MDGs in developed and developing countries.
Fourthly, the United Nations is making a major effort to ensure that UN assistance is clearly aligned behind the MDGs, Annan said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2004)