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Distinguished Mr. Zhang Wenkang, President of the CMCHA,

Ms. Liu Yinyan, Deputy Director of the Guangdong Health and Family Planning Commission,

Dear friends, colleagues, ladies and gentleman,

On behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other UN sister agencies, it is my pleasure to deliver remarks on the occasion of the 6th Forum on Women and Children Health Development. I would like to thank the China Maternal and Children Health Association and the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province for convening this important event. 

In September this year, the world’s leaders have endorsed seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a truly universal, integrated and transformative sustainable development agenda. The Agenda 2030 builds on a number of international agreements, including the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (or known as ICPD), as well as the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000. 

 Over the next 15 years, the SDGs will focus on three interconnected dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection, by stimulating global action in areas of critical importance: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. Compared with its predecessor, the SDGs cover more grounds to address inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, cities and human settlements, industrialization, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, peace and justice. They are not independent from each other—they need to be implemented in an integrated manner.

Indeed, none of these goals can be achieved without progress in the others. For instance, SDG3 reads: “Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. Targets within this goal are related to universalizing access to quality health services, including reproductive health; promoting healthier lives through healthy habits; and strengthening health systems, among others. These targets are not only about health—they are interlinked and contribute to the achievement of the entire Agenda 2030.

Over the past 15 years, China has made great progress in achieving the MDGs. In the areas of women and children health, China has reached the MDG 4 in reducing infant mortality and MDG5A in reducing mortality ahead of the schedule. With regard to the MDG 5b, namely universal access to reproductive health, China has exerted concerted efforts to reach this target, and the Law on Population and Family Planning includes the provision to promote informed choice of contraceptives among citizens and improve the status of reproductive health. Nevertheless, like in other countries in the world, there is still much to be done, as evidenced by unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs including HIV/AIDs, especially among young people and vulnerable population groups. 

The SDGs urge the world to continue efforts to fulfill the unfinished agenda of the MDGs and more. Two targets of the SDG are directly related to reproductive health. Target 3.7 under the goal of health reads “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes’ and Target 5.6 under the goal of gender equality reads “Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences”. These targets will guide the global and national endeavors in improving legislations, policies and programmes to promote the reproductive health and reproductive rights. 

Following the adjustment of the fertility policy in 2013, the Government of China made another important announcement last month that all Chinese couples can have two children. This announcement also mentioned plans to strengthen sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal and child healthcare. Under the guidance and leadership of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, collective efforts are made throughout China to provide integrated sexual and reproductive health services. We believe that with continued efforts and commitment to the ICPD, these steps will lead to the fulfillment of universal access to reproductive health and the right of all couples and individuals in China to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children. 

Participants of this conference represent the diverse community of professionals, policy makers, programme managers and service providers in the field of sexual, reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health. Your unwavering dedication, innovation and incessant efforts made achievement of health MDGs a reality, and will surely contribute to the fulfillment of the SDGs in China. We, at the UN and other international agencies, have enjoyed a fruitful cooperation with all of you along this journey of promoting women’s, adolescents and children health. 

The Agenda 2030 extends to us immense opportunities but equally presents vast challenges. In the years to come, building on the momentum of our partnership, we will continue to work together with you to meet the challenges and reach even greater achievements. 

I wish you a successful meeting and look forward to the discussions.

Thank you very much.  Xiè xie