UNFPA chief praises China's progress in gender equality
Published: Nov 21, 2016 09:46 PM
A top UN official praised China's efforts to promote gender equality and poverty reduction, while pledging continued cooperation in various fields.

Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua prior to the Ninth Global Conference on Health Promotion, which began in Shanghai Monday.

"I'm fascinated by the fact that China has lifted so many people out of poverty, and more women and girls have equal opportunities here," Osotimehin said, "I believe it will continue to work. There is still much work to do."

China has witnessed progress in gender equality during the past decade regarding improved education, increased employment opportunities, better respect within the family and more political participation for its women, he said.

The official sid that sexual and reproductive health and rights were central to UNFPA's work, regarding promoting gender equality worldwide as the biggest challenge in the next three to five years.

"We are committed to delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Our work is to ensure that women and girls have the right to a safe and successful transition, and have the opportunities to improve themselves and get jobs," he said.

Osotimehin believes that gender equality is essential to ending extreme poverty and has great impact on the global economy. "Women's participation will make the economy more energetic and dynamic," he said.

He is also concerned about women who suffer as a result of conflict and disasters. The agency provides life-saving sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls in 38 countries or territories where natural disasters or conflicts have occurred.

Earlier this year, UNFPA and China signed a memorandum of understanding on South-South cooperation in the areas of reproductive health, gender, population, and development.

Meanwhile, the agency will work with China to empower young people.

"Young people help shape our common future. Prioritizing and protecting their rights, needs and aspirations will define the course of global development," he said.
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