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Top Chinese legislator urges immediate action to achieve MDGs

GENEVA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Wu Bangguo, China's top legislator, on Monday called for the international community to demonstrate confidence, strengthen cooperation and safeguard peace to speed up the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"The parliament should supervise and support its own government to implement the MDGs, to take peaceful and friendly foreign policy, and to properly handle sensitive issues in bilateral ties and international relations," Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said at the opening ceremony of the third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.

The MDGs, endorsed by UN members in 2000, set out eight targets ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

"Over the past decade, the world has been achieving results on the MDGs, but the progress remains slow," Wu said. "Developing countries, especially the most underdeveloped countries, are in escalated economic difficulties and the gaps between the north and the south widen."

Wu said that implementation of the MDGs becomes more crucial under the impact of the global financial crisis in particular.

He said confidence is the premise of realizing the MDGs. The global financial crisis has an impact that can not be neglected on the implementation of the MDGs, but the world should aware that the MDGs and dealing with the crisis are not contradictory, Wu said.

He stressed it will be more significant for the international community to speed up the MDGs' implementation process while there still exists in-depth impact of the financial crisis and uncertainty of the world economy's systematic and structural risks.

"We can not slow down or even retreat from the MDGs, but should consolidate the confidence and determination to fulfil our commitments," the Chinese top legislator said.

Wu noted cooperation is an effective way to achieve the MDGs. The international community would achieve common interest only if all nations shared responsibilities and reciprocity, he said.

The world should hear the call from the developing and the most underdeveloped nations, increase input to the development problems, and give more say and representation to the developing nations in the international financial system so as to push forward a balanced and prosperous world economy, he said.

Wu also urged developed nations to honor their own commitments on assistance, open market and debt relief, and help developing nations to improve their own capacities for development.

For developing countries, Wu said they should combine their domestic situations with the world advanced civilization to find out the way to improve the economy and eradicate poverty, so as to expand trade cooperation, upgrade the south-south cooperation as an effort to realize the MDGs.

Wu said safeguarding peace is the guarantee to realize the MDGs. He noted all nations should observe the principles and purposes of the United Nations charter, and adhere to the new security concept of mutual trust and benefit, equality and coordination, properly handle disputes and regional issues by peaceful means.

On the domestic situation, Wu said China, as the largest developing nation of the world, has pursued the way of peace and development, adopted the state policy of gender equality, resource conservation and environmental protection, and has taken actual actions to push forward the implementation of the MDGs.

China also offer assistance to other developing nations within its capacity. China advocated to build up cooperation forums with Africa, the Arabian nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Pacific islands nations.

China relieved debts of 50 poor nations and gradually offered zero-tariff treatment to 95 percent commodities of the most underdeveloped countries in Africa which have diplomatic ties with China.

Facing the negative impact of the world financial turmoil in 2008, China contributed more than 20 percent to the world economy growth.

"The NPC would like to work with other parliaments of the world to cope with the challenges and realize the MDGs to build up a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity at the platform of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)," Wu said.

The first World Conference of Speakers of Parliament was organized in 2000 by the IPU and the UN in New York.

Wu arrived in Geneva on Sunday afternoon to attend the third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. Switzerland is Wu's final leg of a three-nation visit which has taken him to France and Serbia.

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