THE 2002 INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARIANS’
CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ICPD OF
Vice President, The Standing Committee of the National People’s
Congress, the People’s Republic of China
(November 21, 2002 – Ottawa, Canada)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, please allow me to express my sincere thanks to the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for inviting me to attend the 2002 International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD
of Action. I would like also to take the opportunity to deliver our warmest salute to the local host – the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD).
The International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994 was a landmark triumph in the history of the international cause of population and family planning. As a State Councilor of China’s State Council
and the Minister of the State Family Planning Commission of China, I led the Chinese delegation and attended the ICPD in Cairo in 1994. At the ICPD delegates from all over the world reviewed the global population and family planning situation, and participated in heated debates on the issues and challenges in the area. The final document, the Programme of Action, was based on the consensus generated from the discussions of 179 countries. The
Programme of Action became the guiding principles for population and family planning programmes for the entire world. The success of the ICPD and its output were the results of the collective efforts of all the countries of different political systems and religions. It was also an extraordinary contribution of the UNFPA to international population and family planning endeavours.
Since 1994, the Chinese government has vigorously responded to the call of the ICPD, and has been fulfilling its commitments to the ICPD with responsibility. We have earnestly implemented the ICPD Programme of Action in the Chinese context, and the achievement in this regard has been quite encouraging. Reproductive health and family planning have been integrated with efforts in poverty alleviation, universal education, women’s empowerment, social security, public health, etc. The Chinese government has since 1994 allocated increasing resources in population and family planning programmes, particularly in the remote and poverty stricken areas of the country. Reproductive health and family planning services including contraceptives are provided to the people free of charge. China is one of the developing countries which invest substantively in reproductive health care. The service network extends to all cities and villages throughout the country and service facilities have been improved and service capacity upgraded.
The Chinese government reoriented its family planning and reproductive health programme to follow the human centered approach that was endorsed by the ICPD Programme of Action. As a concrete step, it launched a pilot experiment in quality of care of family planning in 1995. In the pilot areas, with the aim to meet the diversified needs and demands of people in family planning and reproductive health, the current system in programme management and performance evaluation has been under transformation; informed choice of contraceptives, community-based personalized counseling and follow-up services were developed; maternal care was enhanced to ensure healthy child-births; diagnosis and treatment of RTIs were provided; and information on AIDS prevention were disseminated. All of these measures are combined with
efforts to assist the people with difficulties in their daily work and life to obtain good and comprehensive reproductive health.
The experiment in quality of care has been warmly welcomed by the people and family planning staff, and has been expanded from six counties in 1995 to more than 800 counties/districts today. This includes some of the poorest areas in the western region of the country. China’s population and family planning
programme has been moving forward along the direction of ICPD in a sound, steady, and sustainable manner.
The enabling environment created within China’s family planning and
reproductive health programmes has been conducive to advancing China’s
rapid economic and social development and promoting the uplifting of the quality of life of Chinese citizens.
It is worthwhile to point out that China’s achievement in the implementation
of ICPD Programme of Action has a lot to do with the support and assistance China has received from UNFPA over the years. The assistance which China has received from UNFPA is small in quantity and in proportion compared with the overall resource investment of the Chinese government in the field of population and family planning. Nevertheless, UNFPA’s assistance to China
has been crucial. It provides a vital channel to facilitate the dialogue and communication between China and the international community in population, family planning, and reproductive health. In addition, it also brings to China new concepts, experiences, and technology of the rest of the world in this field.
We would like therefore to take the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to UNFPA, and also to many other international organizations and institutions such as WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, IPPF, The Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Gates Foundation, the Population Council, and PATH for their years of support and assistance to China. It is also our sincere hope to continue our cooperation and partnership with UNFPA and various international organizations and institutions in the new century to further improve China’s
programme in population, family planning and reproductive health for the
well-being of hundreds of millions of Chinese people.
The parliamentarians occupy a unique and significant position for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and promoting population and development programmes in various countries. China’s National People’s
Congress (NPC) is highly committed to addressing population issues. With many years’ efforts, the Standing Committee of NPC adopted “Population and
Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China” on December 29, 2001,
which came into effect from September 1, 2002. The Law reiterates that given the large size of the population in China, family planning is a fundamental state policy. Meanwhile, women’s health must be promoted, people’s legitimate
rights must be protected and family planning and other reproductive health performance should be upgraded. The adoption and enforcement of the “Population and Family Planning Law” will certainly exert a significant and
profound impact on stabilizing low fertility, upgrading family planning performance, safeguarding the legal interests and rights of citizens, as well as on the coordinated development between population and economy, society, resource, environment, and sustainable development in China.
The NPC (National People’s Congress) recognizes the importance of
dialogue and cooperation on population and development issues among the parliamentarians of various countries. The NPC is one of the founding members of AFPPD which was established in 1981. The AFPPD has just recently held its 7th major meeting in Beijing. The Beijing Declaration adopted at the meeting holds that population and sustainable development are closely interrelated. It urges the governments of all countries to double their efforts in the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, and appeals to the governments of the donor countries to increase their official development assistance to the population related programmes in developing countries. Meanwhile, the participating parliamentarians expressed their determination to take firmer and more effective actions to ensure the commitment of their governments to population and development programmes.
Lack of resources is always an acute issue impeding the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action among the developing countries. The global resource target set at ICPD is far from being met. Global sustainable development requires the collective efforts of countries all over the world. For the sake of the common future of humankind, we would like at this International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, once again to strongly urge the international community and the various national governments, the governments of the developed countries in particular, to further raise awareness for population and development, take action in implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, fully understand the difficulties of developing countries in resource and technology, honor their pledges made at the ICPD, increase funding for population, family planning, and reproductive health programmes, so as to promote global sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the moment of entering this new century and approaching the 10th anniversary of the ICPD, we are fully aware that, while the achievement since ICPD has been tremendous in the areas of population and development in both developing and developed countries, we still have a long way to go to have the ICPD Programme of Action fully implemented. These are challenges to countries all over the world. As a developing country with a population accounting for one-fifth of the world total, China is obligated and determined to work along with governments, people and parliamentarians of all countries, as well as various international organizations and institutions for the full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action as well as for the stabilization of the world population and the promotion of global sustainable development.
Thank you Madame Chairwoman.