China has made substantial development progress in the last three decades. Its ongoing transition to a market system, decentralization of government services, and opening up of its economy have lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty.
Between 1981 and 2005, the number of people in China living on less than US$1.25/day dropped from 84 percent to 13 percent. China ranks 101 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index and has met most of the Millennium Development Goals.
Despite these significant achievements, China's development still lags in several key areas. Important issues relating to human rights, rule of law, working conditions, and environmental protection require more attention. A significant number of China's citizens—including many of its 200 million migrant workers and 100 million ethnic minorities—have been marginalized from the benefits of China's economic growth and social service system. Ethnic minority groups face additional challenges concerning the preservation of their languages and cultural heritage.
Over the last decade, China has launched reforms in its justice sector, including measures to increase access to legal services. It has put in place new labour laws to better protect worker rights and relaxed the residency rules for migrant workers. It has also established programs to assist rural and remote communities, including ethnic minority areas. The implementation of these reforms, however, has been uneven, and serious challenges remain.
As the world's most populated country and an increasingly influential member of the international community, it is important that China, a model for many other developing countries, implement its international human rights and environmental protection commitments.
China is seeking international expertise to make its reforms more effective.As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, Canada is restructuring and streamlining its operations. By March 2014, all international development funding for country-to-country (bilateral) programs in China will end and all existing project and contract work will be completed. China will continue to remain eligible for support through Multilateral and global programs (including international humanitarian assistance when needed) and Partnerships with Canadians programs.
The goal of Canada's international development assistance program in China is to promote human rights and sound environmental management.
Canada does not provide financial support to the Government of China. Instead, the funding supports the delivery of technical expertise by Canadian organizations to Chinese agencies that are implementing human rights and environmental reforms.
Canada works at local levels to improve the implementation of human rights reforms for marginalized groups such as migrant workers and ethnic minorities. These efforts includes support for improving access to legal services for marginalized groups and strengthening the capacity of legal professionals to guarantee due process of law.
Through international development programmings , experts work with local organizations to introduce reforms that prevent labour exploitation; improve working conditions; and resolve workplace disputes for migrant workers.
Canada supports ethnic minority rights by promoting community development in ethnic minority areas.
Canada's program has focused on strengthening environmental management policies to:
Canada has provided research-based high-level international expert advice on environment and development policies.
Increasing environmental sustainability is one of DFATD's cross-cutting themes for international development.
China adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages) and leads in donor alignment and local ownership. It has a strong track record of implementing and replicating development approaches based on advice received from Canada and other donor countries.
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