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Bringing the Role of NGOs into Full Play to Promote International Cooperation in Poverty Reduction — A Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of 2018 Beijing Forum on Human Rights
May 17,2019   By:CSHRS
Bringing the Role of NGOs into Full Play
to Promote International Cooperation in Poverty Reduction

A Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of 2018 Beijing Forum on Human Rights

HUANG Mengfu*
 
2018 Beijing Forum on Human Rights jointly organized by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development opens today. First of all, on behalf of the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, I would like to express warm congratulations on the opening of the forum, a sincere welcome to all guests, and my heartfelt gratitude to friends from all over the world for the long term care and support for China’s development and the progress of China’s human rights cause.

A decade has passed since the foundation of Beijing Forum on Human Rights in 2008. With the joint efforts of the organizers and the international community, it has become an important platform for China to explore the path of human rights development, exchange experience in human rights protection, and look to the bright future of human rights together with other countries, as well as an important way for China to cooperate and engage in exchanges with other countries on human rights thanks to its expanding scale and growing influence. As one of the organizers of the forum, the China Foundation for Human Rights Development has paid close attention and actively participated in the organization of the forum and relevant work. We sincerely appreciate the achievements of the forum in the past decade.

The past decade has witnessed broad and profound changes in the world and accelerated adjustment of the international pattern and order. In the global governance system, poverty has become one of the toughest problems in the field of human rights, one with great social concern in the world and one which needs special attention and great efforts to cope with. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has given poverty reduction a prominent position in the governance of the country from the strategic height of the completion of the building of a moderately prosperous society and the realization of the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and made a series of decisions to “seek truth from facts, suit the measures to local conditions, provide category-specific guidance, and implement targeted poverty reduction” to promote the balanced and coordinated development of poverty reduction and works relevant to human rights protection and usher in historical breakthrough and change. Under this background, our in-depth discussion on the theme “Poverty Elimination: Seeking Common Development to Build a Community of Shared Future for Human Beings” is of great significance for the joint efforts of the international community for poverty eradication and common development.

Poverty eradication is the dream of all people and the basic right of people of all countries to pursue a happy life. Experience proves that the existence of poverty seriously hinders the realization and enjoyment of human rights to a fuller extent. Only when the members of international community join hands to take effective measures for both the temporary solution and permanent cure can poverty actually be reduced and eliminated, can better conditions for promoting and protecting human rights be created, and can we realize the dream of prosperity, of national renewal, and of happiness.

As the most populous developing country in the world, China has suffered a lot from poverty. Its large population still living in poverty has become the most prominent weaknesses of China in building a moderately prosperous society. Over the years, China has insisted on bringing its own advantages into full play on the basis of its basic conditions and taking development as the fundamental way to solve poverty. Through suiting the measures to local conditions and taking a combination of measures, China has promoted the balanced and coordinated development of poverty reduction and works relevant to human rights protection, found a successful path with Chinese characteristics to realize poverty reduction through development, and made well-recognized historical achievements. According to related data, the poverty-stricken population in rural China has been reduced by 740 million since the launch of reform and opening-up. Based on the international poverty standard of US$1.9 a day per person of the World Bank and its data, the poverty population had dropped from 878 million in 1981 to 25.11 million by the end of 2013; 853 million people had been lifted out of poverty, representing 70 percent of the world total. China has also become the first developing country to realize the UN Millennium Development Goal for poverty reduction and made great contributions to the cause of global poverty reduction.

Poverty eradication is a historical and worldwide problem. Over the years, China has actively promoted and faithfully practiced poverty reduction worldwide. While striving to eradicate poverty in China, it has supported other developing countries effort so eradicate poverty through its foreign aid, project cooperation, technology diffusion, think tank exchanges, and so on, and promoted the poverty reduction in the world and the sound development of international human rights cause, which reflects the historical responsibility of China as a responsible major country.

Currently, the development of China has entered a new historical position and the relationship between China and the rest of the world has ushered in a new era. In the great process of building a moderately prosperous society and realizing the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has persisted with the development ideology of putting the people first, implemented the basic strategy of targeted poverty reduction and eradication, put forward the historical goal to eliminate absolute poverty by 2020, and made the solemn commitment to “let the poverty-stricken population and impoverished areas enter the moderately prosperous society together with the rest of the country.” China is steadily marching toward the historical solution for absolute poverty and the completion of its goal to build a moderately prosperous society.

As the only foundation in the field of human rights in China, the China Foundation for Human Rights Development focuses on impoverished areas and people in difficulties and it makes great efforts to organize charity activities with distinctive human rights features. With practical action, it has played an important role in poverty eradication and the development of the human rights cause, which has achieved good social effects. However, we are fully aware that there is a long way to go and multiple challenges to be overcome in the process of poverty reduction and eradication, for both China and the large number of developing countries. As for how to bring the unique role of NGOs in promoting international exchanges and cooperation in poverty reduction and boosting the development of human rights cause in China and worldwide into full play, we are shouldering great responsibility. As the director-general of China Foundation for Human Rights Development, I would like to make three suggestions here.

First, attention should be paid to the well-being of the people and the common responsibility of all people in poverty eradication and human rights protection. As our common mission, poverty eradication is also an important part of the promotion and protection of human rights. In order to realize effective reduction and ultimately the eradication of poverty and better promote and protect human rights, we should take the promotion of the well-being of the people, the improvement of people’s lives, and the realization of all-round development of human beings as the start and end point. We should always promote cooperation for the interests of people and benefit people with the fruits of cooperation. To this end, the large number of developing countries should become self-reliant and the developed countries should provide necessary help for them to achieve that. With joint efforts, we can finally realize the common prosperity.

Second, we should establish the sense of a Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings and promote the common development s for poverty eradication and human rights protection. Development is the foundation of the progress of human civilization and “the way to get rid of the hat of poverty.” The current world is facing many challenges in such aspects as economy, security, and so on. The root cause lies in the bottlenecks of development. The power of one country is always weak. As a result, all countries should follow the principles of mutual respect, discussion among equals, mutually beneficial cooperation, exchanges and mutual learning, and common development. We should combine the interests of one country with the interests of others and the interests of people of one country with those of all countries to promote the building of a Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings and lay a solid foundation for realizing the goal of completely eradicating poverty as soon as possible and promoting the sound development of world human rights cause.

Third, we should insist on inclusiveness and learning from each other to unite the common forces of mankind in poverty eradication and human rights protection. “Cooperation makes one strong while isolation makes one weak.” It is in line with the common interests of the international community to effectively eliminate poverty and better promote and protect human rights. Experts and scholars in the field of human rights and practical workers in the field of poverty reduction shoulder the important responsibility of promoting a consensus among different parties, realizing experience sharing, and promoting practical cooperation. We should advocate the concept of equality and inclusiveness, implement constructive dialogue and cooperation, so as to realize the goal of eradicating poverty as soon as possible and constructing a Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings with sustainable development.

(Translated by HU Liang)
 

* HUANG Mengfu ( 黄孟复 ), Vice-chairman of the 11th CPPCC National Committee, director-general of China Foundation for Human Rights Development

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