Opening Remarks by Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Dr. Liu Xianfa at the Opening Ceremony of Nairobi +30 Conference

(Nairobi, August 13, 2015)


Distinguished Ministers,

Ladies, and gentlemen,

Good morning!

I am very honored to be here for the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, at the kind invitation of Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru. On behalf of the Chinese delegation, and in my own name, I would like to extend warm congratulations to the conference, and to convey our sincere greetings and best wishes to all the delegates from African countries.

Thirty years ago, the Third UN World Conference on Women was grandly held in Nairobi, Kenya. Heads of states, social activists, scholars and people from all walks of life came all the way from different parts of world to gather here. The conference adopted “The Nairobi Forward—Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women”, and made great contributions to the development of international women’s movement. Nairobi was embedded in history. As the delegation from the host country of the Fourth UN World Conference on Women, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Nairobi, and to the people and government of Kenya. We would also take this opportunity to thank the people and government of Mexico and Denmark, who held the First and Second World Conferences on Women respectively. Mexico city, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing have a shared history and each has made its unique contributions. Together, they push for the realization of global gender quality and women’s advancement, from a dream to an reality.

Africa has made remarkable achievements in gender equality and women’s empowerment. The system of laws and regulations to protect women’s rights is improving in African countries; gender equality action plans have been formulated; good progress has been made in many fields including women’s education, economic participation and health. African women’s participation in political decision-making is particularly impressive. More and more women are playing an active role on national, regional and global stage. The valuable experiences from Africa are good to learn for other regions. With the theme of “Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, the African Union Summit in January 2015 adopted Agenda 2063 and its First Ten-Year Development Plan. There is no doubt that these new measures will lead gender equality in Africa to a new phase. At the end of this year, China will co-host with African countries the sixth Meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, and this meeting is likely to be upgraded from the ministerial level to be a leaders’ summit. On that occasion, China will put forward new measures to strengthen cooperation with Africa. Our cooperation with African countries will contribute to the economic and social development of Africa, including the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa.

Like most African countries, gender equality in China has registered much progress. Currently, girls’ enrollment is above 99%; the proportion of female undergraduate students and female graduate students at school are 51.4% and 49% respectively. As for employment, more and more women now work in computer sciences, communications, trade, finance, aerospace and other industries. The structure of women’s employment is continuously optimizing; the number of women in entrepreneurship keeps rising. There has been substantial progress in women’s health. By 2014, the maternal mortality rate has fallen to 23.2/100,000 live births, reaching the Millennium Development Goal ahead of schedule; the average life expectancy in China is 74.8 while female life expectancy is 77.37. Women’s participation in decision making and management has increased, with the number of female deputies to the National People’s Congress (NPC) increased to 23.4%, a growth of 2.07 percentage points over the previous session. Of course, compared with some African countries, this number is is still low.

Many factors contribute these achievements. Firstly, the government continuously improves the system of laws and regulations. In the past two decades, over 20 laws and regulations concerning women’s rights have been formulated or amended, so as to ensure that women enjoy equal rights with men in all aspects of political, economic, cultural, social and family life. Secondly, the government continuously implements the National Program on the Development of Chinese Women, and incorporates women’s development into the tasks of government offices and national economic and social development plans, so as to ensure women’s equal participation in economic and social development, and equal enjoyment of the fruits of reform and development. Thirdly, the government launches a series of major projects to solve the problems that most concerned by women. For instance, since 2009, free cervical cancer and breast cancer screening have been provided to more than 44 million women in rural areas. The subsidized micro-credit loans to assist women’s employment and entrepreneurship was implemented. Since 2009, China has already issued 222 billion yuan micro-credit loans, with 19 billion yuan interest paid by the government, ten million women were helped in their business-creation and employment. Fourthly, support from all sectors of the society and hard efforts by women themselves are also very important and indispensable. At present, the whole country is endeavoring to finish building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, and to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and people’s happiness. In these great endeavours, women’s role is irreplaceable. Gender equality and women’s advancement in China has a bright future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Women held in Beijing, the 70th anniversary of the founding of UN, the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. Looking back to history, equality, peace and development are highly precious; looking forward to the future, realizing the goals of equality, peace and development remain a long and arduous task. Again and again history and reality have told us that women are a major driving force of human development and building the future. Without the participation and contribution of women, none of the beautiful wishes and objectives can be realized.

To further promote implementation the Beijing Platform for Action and to goals for women’s development in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, China and UN Women will co-organize the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment on September 27 this year during the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York. Chinese President His Excellency Mr. Xi Jinping and UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon have jointly sent a letter to invite leaders from all UN member states, including all African countries, to attend the meeting. President Xi Jinping and Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will make statements at the opening session of the Meeting. Kenya, the host country of the third world conference on women, is invited to attend the meeting and chair part of the discussion. Invitation also goes to Mexico and Denmark, the other two host countries of the first and second world conferences on women. It is our hope that with the joint efforts of all sides, the meeting will have fruitful results and have a positive impact on international women’s movement. Let us expect stronger actions to promote gender equality and advancement of women from all countries and the international community. Let us expect our common planet become a planet of equality, peace and sustainable development at an early date.

Thank you.

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