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International experts gather in Beijing to discuss child poverty

Beijing, 20 November 2012– The International Symposium on Child Poverty and Development was launched in Beijing today and attracted leading experts and delegates from 20 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, international institutions and NGOs, and poverty alleviation officials from relevant ministries, provinces and regions of China. The symposium has been organized by the State Council Leading Group Office on Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), made possible by a grant from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

Poverty is usually measured by income or employment and this sometimes hides the "non-income" aspects of poverty such as poor sanitation or nutrition; lack of access to school or health services.

The symposium is to strengthen experience exchange and share between China and other developing countries on child poverty alleviation and development, promote south-south cooperation on child development and further improve China’s policies and measures on child poverty reduction. During the two-and-a-half-day symposium, experts and delegates will have in-depth exchanges and discussions around five major themes: child poverty measurement, child sensitive social protection, outreach to especially vulnerable children, early child development and national macro-policies and south-south cooperation.

 “China clearly has much experience that it can share with other developing countries in addressing child poverty and development,” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF China Representative. “And it has much that it can learn from others as well.  This international symposium is a good opportunity and platform. In-depth, substantive exchanges like this help everyone, including UNICEF, keep up on the latest global advances in that vital work.”

The effects of poverty on young children are often irreversible because they can affect a child's physical, mental and emotional development. For example, if children do not get adequate nutrition in the first two years of life they can become stunted form life.

In 2011, in order to meet the needs of child development and break intergenerational poverty transmission, the Government of China issued China National Programme of Action for Children (NPA) (2011-2020), proposing major targets and policies on child development from five aspects: health, education, welfare, social environment and legal protection. Meanwhile, the China Rural Poverty Alleviation and Development Program (2011-2020) clearly stipulates the objectives of rural child development and requires government at all levels to regard women and children as a special target group, to include child poverty reduction in the general poverty alleviation and development planning for unified organization and implementation, and to prioritize child poverty alleviation with more support.

Mr. Fan Xiaojian, Director of LGOP, said that facilitating international dialogue and cooperation on poverty reduction has always been a very important component of China’s poverty alleviation strategies. For years, drawing lessons from international social poverty reduction thinking and practice, China has carried out poverty alleviation programmes and shared experience to promote poverty reduction. “We must make full use of this opportunity to analyse problems and challenges in child development, to study on methods and ways of enhancing child development and to put forward better advices on formulating more predictive, scientific and practical strategies and policies. With our joint efforts, we will move child poverty reduction and development forward in China and all across the world”.



UNICEF first assisted China between 1947 and 1951, providing emergency services, food and nutrition, health and hygiene training during and after the Civil War. In 1979 UNICEF officially commenced its cooperation with the Government of China to support child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

For further information, please contact:

Dale Rutstein, UNICEF China, +8610 85312610, drutstein@unicef.orgor
Liu Li, UNICEF China, +8610 85312612,



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