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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 08:57, September 08, 2004
Population, development forum opens
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China is not just sitting idly waiting for its population and family planning policies to evolve by themselves.

Instead, the world's most populous developing country has adopted active and effective measures for vigorous advancement of the population and development cause in combination with Chinese national characteristics, said Hua Jianmin, a State councillor of China.

He made the remark at the opening ceremonies of a three-day International Forum on Population and Development Tuesday.

According to China Daily, about 400 participants from more than 50 countries met in Whuan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, to mark the 10th anniversary of both the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD) and Partners in Population and Development.

In 1994, a total of 179 countries attending the ICPD in Cairo jointly endorsed the Programme of Action, under which the countries put forward new concepts such as "integrated strategy for population and development," "human development" and "reproductive health" and set the goal of co-ordinated and sustainable development between populations and the economy, society, resources and environment.

At the same time, 10 developing countries initiated the Partners in Population and Development -- an inter-governmental organization in the field of population and development.

Its members have increased to 21 now and China joined the organization in 1997.

"For the past decade, the Chinese Government has earnestly performed its commitments to both the ICPD Programme of Action and Millennium Development goals which were fixed in 2000 by UN and made remarkable achievements," Hua

said. Yet, he added, China is still confronted with numerous difficulties and challenges, including the coexistence of low fertility and large quantitative growth of population and overall poor quality of life in the population.

Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN under-secretary-general, said the 1994 Cairo agenda has not remained a paper promise.

"It has indeed turned into concrete initiatives, policies, laws and programmes that are implemented around the world and are truly making a difference in the everyday lives of millions of people," he said.

According to him, while many steps forward have been taken towards meeting many of the ICPD goals, progress has been very uneven.

Dr Steven W. Sinding, director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said to select Whuan as the venue had provided him chance to have a diversified view of the social-economic development in the vast territory in China, in addition to Beijing and Shanghai.

The forum, which is expected to develop strategies for better implementation of ICPD and MDGs under the framework of South-South and South-North Collaboration, encouraged the participants to share experiences and discussions.

"I am really grateful that China opened its doors for us to come to see how it succeeded in population and family planning," said Dr Richard O. Muga, director of the National Council For Population and Development of Kenya.

He said his nation and China can also promote the bilateral trade through the forum. "China is good at producing contraceptive medicines and we'd like to import some," he said.

He said this is a step for developing countries to examine themselves and to realize the problems they have and then learn from the experiences from other countries.

"With in the partnership, we share solutions and modern technologies in population and family planning," he said.

However, for Dr Jotham Musinguzi, director of the Population Secretariat from the Republic of Uganda, participation means something more than just "experience sharing".

"I want to talk to international donors and international funds. I want them to invest more money to our country's population and family planning programmes to help more people."

He said he would demonstrate to them that all their money has been and will always be properly used to promote the health condition and living standards of the local people.

The forum is scheduled to comprise a series of keynote speeches, including poverty alleviation, reproductive health and family planning.

Hu Angang, director of the Centre for China Studies at Tsinghua University, said in Tuesday's first speech that poverty is still the greatest challenge of human beings and the Chinese Government has made great achievements in poverty reduction.

Statistics show that extreme poverty in rural areas has decreased from 80 million at the end of 1993 to 29 million in 2003 while the proportion of impoverished people in the rural population declining from 8.7 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

Source: China Daily

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