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Brainstorming on innovations to reduce poverty

Beijing Review,December 01, 2020 Adjust font size:

A book on China's poverty alleviation stories is released at the 2020 International Seminar on Global Poverty Reduction Partnerships in Longnan, Gansu Province in northwest China, on November 24 (COURTESY PHOTO)

On November 24, a day after the news came that the last nine impoverished counties, all in Guizhou Province in southwest China, had eliminated absolute poverty, the 2020 International Seminar on Global Poverty Reduction Partnerships was held in Longnan, Gansu Province, northwest China. The seminar was themed on global poverty reduction innovation and cooperation against the backdrop of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The participants discussed sharing digital innovation and strengthening partnerships for poverty reduction. Edited excerpts of their viewpoints follow: 

Du ZhanyuanPresident of China International Publishing Group 

China has a great achievement in the fight against poverty. We have much to learn from this experience. One of the most notable features is to integrate economic and cultural development with digital innovation. Poverty alleviation is not limited only to resolving the problem of survival. We need to promote all-round development of poor areas, so that people there can keep pace with the latest developments. 

Eliminating absolute poverty proves the success of China's development model. China has implemented targeted poverty alleviation approaches, with the government leading all walks of life to contribute their efforts.

However, the country still has a long way to go as its per-capita income and other indicators are lower than those of developed countries. China remains a developing country and achieving sustainable development is a long-term and arduous task ahead.

In the face of severe challenges posed by COVID-19, countries and international organizations should further build up partnerships, strengthen cooperation in poverty reduction, learn from each other's best practices, and make knowledge sharing and cooperation important boosters for solving the global issue of poverty.

Marie Roland Alain Wong Yen Cheong, Ambassador of Mauritius to China 

We are now facing an unprecedented health crisis, one that has taken the lives of thousands of people around the world and has repercussions for all socioeconomic sectors. This crisis has transformed our everyday habits and behavior over the past seven months.

What this crisis has also demonstrated is that we cannot face such a global crisis alone in isolation. While each country faces the effects of the crisis in its own way, according to its available means, it is more important than ever, to share each other's experiences, knowledge and technical know-how in order to mitigate its socioeconomic impacts, especially on the more marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Countries need to promote global economic recovery through greater openness and integration. The sooner all countries contain the virus, the sooner we can improve the movement of people and goods and keep the global supply chain stable.

Ye AnpingDirector of South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 

The massive reduction of poverty in China over the past 40 years since reform and opening up began in 1978 is one of the great success stories of modern times in global economic and social development.

Rapidly developing the rural economy by modernizing agriculture was an important factor of this success, and it has transformed China into one of the leading countries adopting digital innovations for poverty reduction. E-commerce is an innovative approach to connect small farmers and big markets and is evolving rapidly.

China has been one of FAO's most important partners in the promotion of South-South and triangular cooperation. In 2009, FAO and China jointly established the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme, with an initial contribution of $30 million, followed by an additional $50 million in 2015. In September this year, President Xi Jinping announced at the United Nations General Assembly that China would be contributing a further $50 million for the third phase of the South-South cooperation program.

So far, the program has more than 70,000 direct beneficiaries at the grassroots level, as well as several hundred thousand indirect beneficiaries. Moreover, above 1,300 participants from over 100 countries have benefited from capacity development activities on a wide range of technical and policy topics, with rural poverty reduction as a cross-cutting focus.

Ron Hartman, Director of Global Engagement, Partnership and Resource Mobilization, International Fund for Agricultural Development 

As two thirds of the world's extremely poor population are living in rural areas, agriculture is the key to ensure food security and to provide welfare to all. Investment in agriculture has proved to be an effective tool to reduce poverty and we have to continue to emphasize this to policymakers and political leaders. With the right tools, small farmers can contribute a lot more to food production, nutrition and the climate.

We must put the small farmers onto the right stage, and they need to get the attention of decision- and policy-makers. They need to be empowered with voice to be heard in making policies that would affect their lives. We need financial services and infrastructure that enable small farmers to get access to key resources at the right time. We also need to provide them with better resources and technologies, which include digital innovation in rural areas. Finally, we need to strengthen partnerships, including the finance sector,to ensure inclusiveness and sustainability.

Stanlake SamkangeSenior Director of Strategic Partnerships, World Food Programme (WFP) 

China has made great strides in rural transformation and poverty reduction, especially through leveraging digital solutions such as e-commerce. More than 800 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty since opening up of China began in 1978. Enabling government policies and investments, along with a robust private sector, played a critical role in enabling a path toward digital and sustainable growth in China.

The WFP and China's joint work has evolved, and we have embarked on a new era of partnership to end global hunger, eradicate poverty, and support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals globally by developing partnerships with public and private organizations. This goes beyond fundraising, and includes collaboration to develop cutting-edge digital solutions needed to solve complex development challenges.

It also includes piloting innovative and replicable programs to reduce food insecurity, reaching the last mile in China, as well as in other countries. We hope to learn from stakeholders in China at both the national and provincial level, on how to bring the key elements of China's experience to countries in Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific.

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