Our Commitment


With a population of 1.4 billion, China is the world’s second largest economy, the biggest exporter and an increasingly influential player in international policy (diplomacy?). The rapid and tremendous economic ascendance of the past decade, much of it in double digits, has lifted 500 million people out of poverty but has also brought on a number of problems, such as urban sprawl and congestion, high rural-urban inequality, worsening pollution and growing social tensions. The country also faces demographic pressure related to an aging population and the internal migration of labour: 300 million people moved from the countryside to cities over the last 30 years and another 300 million are predicted to move in the next 30 years. With the second largest number of poor in the world after India, poverty reduction and income inequality remain fundamental challenges. Despite the significant policy adjustments undertaken, major shifts are required in order for China’s growth to be sustainable. As the world’s largest source of carbon emissions, the country is responsible for a third of the planet’s greenhouse gas output and has sixteen of the world’s twenty most polluted cities. Life expectancy in the north has decreased due to air pollution. Severe water contamination and scarcity have compounded land deterioration problems and environmental degradation has exacerbated poverty in a number of areas as well as the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Floods, droughts, earthquakes, typhoons and extreme weather events increasingly threaten the health and livelihoods of people across the region, with the potential to hinder years of development progress. (Sources: UNICEF 2017; UNDP 2018; World Bank 2017)

total population (thousands)
GNI per capita
Life expectancy at birth
76 years
Human Development Index
86 (out of 189)
Under-5 mortality rate
Primary school net enrolment
Adult HIV prevalence (% of the population)
People of all ages living with HIV (thousands)
improved access to safe water (% of the population)
moderate-severe underweight (% children under-5)

related programmes

our partners