China celebrates 30 years of partnership with UNDP for development

27 Nov 2009

Beijing – China and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are today commemorating 30 years of cooperation, a period which has seen unprecedented improvements in the lives of men and women in China.

Two photo exhibitions were featured at a celebration event attended by senior government officials and other dignitaries: one showcasing UNDP’s work in China over the past three decades, and the other presenting China’s participation in the Greater Tumen Initiative on regional cooperation for Northeast Asia.

Madame Chen Zhili, Vice Chairperson of the 11th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and President of the All-China Women’s Federation, said at the event, “The last three decades of cooperation between the Government of China and UNDP have witnessed tremendous achievements. This partnership has greatly contributed to the progress of China’s social and economic development”. She also expressed that “China is willing to cooperate closely with the international community to build a well-off society, and will continue to promote South-South Cooperation”.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark praised China’s dramatic development achievements and also highlighted the capacity to assist other developing countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals. “China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the last twenty years, and will very likely meet all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. We need to build on and expand the successes of China’s development experience and help overcome remaining social and economic disparities,” said Clark at the event. “UNDP also looks forward to working closely with China as it plays an ever more important part in global development.”

Mr. Yi Xiaozhun, Vice Minister of Commerce, noted that“over the past 30 years, the Government of China and UNDP have successfully completed 900 joint initiatives with mobilized resources amounting to US $1 billion. UNDP has provided useful technologies and experience to support China’s social and economic development.”

The Vice Minister also stressed that “as the largest developing country in the world, China will deepen the cooperation with UNDP to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as scheduled”.

Mr. Chen Weigen, Vice Governor of Jilin Provincial Government, commended the contribution of UNDP in promoting regional cooperation. “Jilin Province has played an important role in the partnership between UNDP and the Government of China, especially in the regional Greater Tumen Initiative,” said the Vice Governor. “The State Council has approved development plans in the Tumen River region of Jilin province, and Jilin will continue its efforts to revive the province's economy.”

UNDP was one of China’s first development partners after the 1978 reform and opening up. Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, described the evolution of UNDP’s work in China since 1979 and stressed that it has been “complementary to the Government’s changing development goals and priorities.” He also noted the close partnership between UNDP and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE). “It has been through our cooperation with CICETE that UNDP has been able to spread its projects throughout the whole of China and have a positive impact on the lives of so many people,” said Malik.

From its early years focusing largely on technology transfer, UNDP has gradually shifted its emphasis to providing China with strategic policy options in the areas of poverty reduction, environmental protection, fostering democratic governance, and disaster management. Malik highlighted several UNDP projects with its national partners, including a recent US $87 million programme to phase out all incandescent light bulbs in China and replace them with energy efficient bulbs within three years.

This is Miss Helen Clark’s first visit to China as the UNDP Administrator. She is in Beijing this week to meet with state leaders and senior government officials to discuss issues including climate change and the upcoming Copenhagen conference, the importance of China’s role in the overall global development agenda. She will also explore with Chinese counterparts the options for a strategic partnership for China and UNDP to work together toward these goals.