Government of China and UNICEF sign Five-Year Cooperation Plan
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of China signed a new five-year “Country Programme Action Plan” to improve the situation of children and women in China. The plan, which runs through 2015, will mobilize nearly RMB871 million to reduce disparities and promote equity for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and women.
The plan was signed by Assistant Minister Mr. Yu Jianhua of the Ministry of Commerce on behalf of the Government of China and Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative in China in February 23, 2011.
The plan will focus on vulnerable groups, including migrant children and children left behind in rural areas; ethnic minorities; children living in poor, rural and remote communities and others, in an effort to promote equitable and balanced development. The Ministry of Commerce is responsible for overall coordination of UNICEF's programmes in China.
"UNICEF is an advocate for children's welfare, a protector of children's rights and interests and a cherished old friend of China," said Mr. Yu Jianhua, Assistant Minister of Commerce. "The Chinese government appreciates the important contribution made by UNIECF over the past 30 years to the development of Chinese Children. China would like to further enhance and deepen cooperation with UNICEF through the new Programme of Cooperation."
"I am delighted to sign this new five-year action plan with the Government of China," said Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF China Representative. "Under the coordination of the Ministry of Commerce, our joint programme has supported many of China's notable milestones for children, including expanded immunization, dramatic reduction of child and maternal mortality and more recently, development of China's comprehensive child welfare system as well as important gains for children affected by HIV-AIDS."
The new programme aims to improve the health and nutrition status of children, increase access to quality basic education services, protect women and children from the spread of HIV-AIDS, strengthen social policies and implementation mechanisms, improve access to community-based child protection services and upgrade drinking water quality and sanitation services.
UNICEF will continue to focus much of its support on introducing pilot projects in the poorest communities in China with a view to adapting approaches and documenting best practices. Experiences gained from innovative models and approaches will be scaled up by the Government of China as national programmes and policies to reach a very large cross-section of China's children.
Though China is well on track to achieve the overall Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the absolute number of under-served children and women, mostly in poor rural areas, remains quite large.
Over the past 30 years, China has experienced unprecedented rates of economic growth, but development has been uneven. Income disparities between rural and urban residents and among different regions of the country have been rising, and it is estimated that more than 100 million Chinese children are still living on less than two dollars per day. Official statistics also show that the health outcomes in the poorest communities are similar to those in low-income countries. China is still among the top five countries in the world in terms of the absolute number of child deaths under the age of five.
The signing of the action plan is one of the last significant accomplishments of Dr. Yin Yin Nwe's tenure as UNICEF Representative in China. Dr Nwe, a native of Myanmar, began her term in China in late 2006. She will retire from UNICEF service at the end of the month following a long and distinguished career which included leadership roles in programme monitoring and implementation in West Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and East Asia and the Pacific.
(China.org.cn March 2, 2011)