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UN recognizes country’s efforts to combat poverty and hunger

Updated: Jun 12,2015 8:00 AM     Xinhua

Eradicating hunger and poverty in an increasingly wealthy world is probably humanity’s most meaningful task.

The international community has never stopped in this endeavor. Halving the proportion of undernourished people since 1990 before this year’s deadline marks one of the world’s most courageous efforts.

The ambitious target, part of the Millennium Development Goals, was set by the World Food Summit in 1996.

China has a vast number of people living in abject poverty, and its efforts to lift them out of this situation represent a huge contribution to the global efforts.

The country has strengthened its agricultural policies and improved infrastructure, technology and equipment to better support farmers.

All these efforts have resulted in a significant improvement in food security.

According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates, China reduced the level of undernourishment in the country from 23.9 percent in 1990-92 to 9.3 percent now.

In the same period, it cut the number of people suffering from dire hunger from 289 million to 133.8 million.

The achievements have been recognized by the United Nations, with China receiving a diploma at the FAO headquarters in Rome on Sunday for reaching the Millennium Development Goal.

Ensuring food security has always been a priority for the government, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said after receiving the diploma on behalf of the nation.

In a speech at the FAO headquarters on the eve of World Food Day in October, Premier Li Keqiang said hunger relief and poverty reduction are shared responsibilities of the international community.

More than 800 million people in the world are still faced with the lack of food or malnutrition, Li warned, as he urged the international community to strengthen agricultural cooperation and pay greater attention to developing countries, particularly the least-developed ones.

Li announced a donation of $50 million over the next five years to the FAO to support developing countries in building sustainable food systems and inclusive agricultural value chains.

China and the FAO signed the agreement on the sidelines of the award ceremony in Rome on May 31.

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said during the signing ceremony: “China has made strides in decreasing hunger and has used its experience to support other countries in doing the same.

“It has become clear that while we have the power to end hunger in our lifetime, we will only succeed if we work together-Southern countries empowering one another by exchanging knowledge and tools is a key part of this.”

Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Program, said China has succeeded in helping more than 550 million nationals shake off the bonds of extreme poverty since 1981, marking the fastest development pace in human history.

“The world has always been interested in the experience and inspiration behind China’s poverty alleviation,” she added.

Li said China’s reforms began with a contract system for family farming in rural areas three decades ago, which has managed to feed most of the Chinese people and helped several hundred million of them to climb out of poverty.

A report on the UN website said China’s experience is especially relevant, as the largest proportion of the world’s poor are those living in rural areas.

“Empowering rural people is an essential first step to eradicating poverty,” it said.

This is what the Chinese government has been doing, with Li saying it always attaches great importance to agriculture and the sustainable development of agriculture.

China has used its farmland and water resources, which are below the average global quality level, to sustain 20 percent of the world’s population, he said.