Helen Clark: Message on the occasion of The 2011 Liangjiang Forum

18 Jun 2011

Chongqing, China

Distinguished participants at the Forum,

I am pleased to greet you from the headquarters of the UN Development Programme in New York.

I thank the Chongqing Municipality and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce for the invitation to speak to this important international forum in the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area.

Chongqing’s high growth rates, its burgeoning local industry, and the many innovations it has to share mark it out as a municipality on the move.

Chongqing’s development success is improving the living standards of millions of people. The district of Liangjiang is a case in point. One year after being declared a ‘New Area’, Liangjiang is well on its way to becoming a hub for manufacturing, transportation, and finance. In Liangjiang, we see how effective policies and support for local infrastructure and skills and technology development can help attract investment to new areas.

This is an important lesson, not only for China in its drive to achieve more balanced and equitable development, but also for the many countries wanting to overcome the challenges of uneven development.

Where development is equitable, broad-based, and inclusive, it helps build social cohesion, instill a sense of national purpose, and grow the domestic markets needed to sustain economic growth and drive transformation. Inclusive growth will reduce both poverty and inequality.

UNDP welcomes China’s “Go West” reform programme as very important in spreading the gains from the transformation in the country at large to the western region. We believe that “Go West” will support the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area to become an even more vital centre of industry, commerce, finance, technology, logistics, and innovation.

To do that, the Chongqing Municipality will want to continue to invest heavily in its people and its services, so that all can move forward together.

China’s stands out in human history for its tremendous achievement in reducing poverty. How China achieved that is of international interest.  UNDP is committed to working with China, including through the International Poverty Reduction Center in Beijing - to share that experience and the lessons learned with other countries seeking to lift the living standards of their peoples.

China’s new five year plan aims to eradicate poverty by 2020.  Achieving that will be world leading – that is where the world needs to set its global ambition.  

Achieving that target for China will mean overcoming remaining challenges – such as regional disparities, intractable rural poverty, new urban poverty, rising income disparities, inadequate social protection, and environmental degradation.

I am confident that China will make every effort to address these problems, and that those efforts will be reflected in actions taken here in Chongqing Municipality.

UNDP is at China’s and Chongqing’s disposal to support further reforms and policy development to reduce both poverty and inequality. Spreading the benefits of growth, social services and social protection to all the regions is part of the answer. Discussion at this international forum can inform the reform process.

The Forum’s global focus is pertinent. China’s growth and development is a big driver of the international economy.   Chongqing is now believed to be the world’s biggest municipality. What happens here is of global significance.  

Thus China’s determination to expand balanced, sustainable, and inclusive development matters to us all. UNDP looks forward to being a partner of China and of Chongqing on their development journey.

I wish you a highly successful 2011 Liangjiang Forum.