Interview: China's poverty alleviation speeds global poverty reduction, says UN official

Source: Xinhua| 2021-03-02 00:22:32|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China's poverty alleviation achievements have made a great contribution to the cause of global poverty reduction, and provided important inspiration for other developing countries in lifting themselves out of poverty, a UN official told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Monday.

"This is a remarkable achievement," said Siddharth Chatterjee, the new UN Resident Coordinator in China, commenting on China's recent announcement that it has secured a "complete victory" in its fight against poverty.

Since the implementation of the reform and opening-up policies, China has lifted 770 million people out of poverty, meeting the goal of ending poverty, as established in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 10 years ahead of schedule.

In 2020, all of China's nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents living below the current poverty line cast off poverty after eight years of efforts.

"I appreciate and congratulate China on its achievements in eradicating poverty and reducing inequality," Chatterjee said.

He noted that China's progress in poverty alleviation is attributable to the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, and the determination and action shown by the Chinese government and people.

"When there is leadership and strong political will, everything is possible. If China, with a vast population of 1.4 billion people, can do it, I think the rest of the world can do it too," he added.

"I feel very privileged to come at a time when there's an inflection point in the way human progress has to be made. I'm excited about the prospects of what we in the UN here will do with the Chinese government and Chinese people, not only to safeguard the gains, but with China to advance that knowledge, to advance those lessons learned, and to advance collaboration, so that we make sure that no country, no village, no community is left behind," he said.

In January, Chatterjee flew from Kenya to South China's Guangzhou to take up his new post.

"Upon arrival, I received rigorous and orderly entry screening, like other overseas passengers arriving in China," Chatterjee said, jokingly adding that his new role did not bring him any "preferential treatment."

"Officials were wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, checking incoming travelers for signs and symptoms," Chatterjee recalled, adding that all overseas passengers arriving in China were directed to designated hotels to complete a 21-day quarantine period.

Strict measures are essential to control the spread of COVID-19 through ports of entry, Chatterjee noted.

"I realized that if every country in the world actually had a robust process of quarantine, of tests, of contact tracing, I think we would have ended this pandemic a long time ago. I think China has some important lessons from a public-health perspective," he added.

As the former UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, he noted that, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has offered assistance to African countries, including Kenya.

"This support was not just limited to Kenya; it was extended to all of Africa. As the former UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the government of China for the speed, the effectiveness and the compassion with which it reached out to many countries in Africa that were grappling with just finding the basic supplies," he said.

The economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic rivals the Great Depression of the 1930s, upending lives and livelihoods, Chatterjee noted.

"Health, climate and economic prosperity are vital to world stability and peace, and these should be what we should drive towards. And therefore, there is no space, there is no opportunity, for unilateralism to thrive," he said.

"The Sustainable Development Goals are just 10 years away, and without us coming together, we will not be able to achieve them," he added. Enditem