Ending poverty in China: The role of knowledge exchange in poverty reduction
China has made remarkable progress in poverty reduction by lifting over 700 million people out of poverty in the past three decades. Under sustainable development goal 1, the international community has committed to end poverty in all its forms and everywhere by 2030. An objective that China expects to achieve 10 years earlier of the deadline by lifting the remaining 55 million of extreme poor out of poverty by 2020.
On September 19, China released its national plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. During his intervention at the event, Premier Li Keqiang confirmed his country’s willingness to participate in international cooperation to contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals, to increase investment in South-South cooperation and to share development experiences and opportunities.
Policy makers and implementers from other countries are interested to learn how China has been successful at reducing poverty and how it plans to achieve the total eradication of extreme poverty ahead of anybody else. However, the challenge is on developing and implementing effective information and communication technologies (ICTs) and knowledge exchange platforms that will allow comparison and analyses of different experiences and performances and to adapt such experiences and knowledge to different contexts.
In an effort to respond to these needs, the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) and China Development Gateway launched the Global Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth Portal (GPIG) with support from the World Bank and ADB. The portal is a knowledge-sharing platform on poverty reduction in China and the entire Asian region through South-South and triangular cooperation. It provides handbooks, updates on key anti-poverty events and research, local and regional news on the progress towards poverty reduction, and the challenges faced by China and other countries in the region. It also allows policy makers and implementers to learn from each other in a systematic and continuous manner.
Since its launch in May 2016, the portal has reached millions of readers and has formed strategic partnerships with think tanks in the region and with other international organizations working towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). However, effective knowledge delivery remains a challenge.
Concerted, organized and well-structured strategies are needed among the portal’s founders, donors and partners. In addition, language is an obvious barrier in a region with over a dozen official languages and where key analytical work is mostly published only in each country’s official language.
In the case of China, the World Bank has been offering assistance to IPRCC to overcome this barrier by supporting relevant websites with English content to make knowledge available internationally. Similar efforts need to be made in other countries in the region so that at least the institutions that are part of the GPIG network can share knowledge and engage in dialogue that can lead to problem-solve together through constant communication and cooperation.
For this to happen, the international community needs to continue to work on a two-track strategy. First, it needs to continue to support the establishment and strengthening of regional and international partnerships. Second, it needs to offer technical and financial assistance to build capacity at the institutional level so that knowledge management experts are trained and sustained technically and financially so that they can contribute effectively to knowledge-sharing initiatives.
The more inclusive the exchange process is, the higher the quality of knowledge will be. The World Bank, ADB, UNDP and FAO have all noted that human development is based on the acquisition, dissemination and use of knowledge. Hence, the achievement of poverty eradication can certainly benefit from access to accurate, up-to-date and relevant information that takes advantage of ICTs. ICTs can make such information available to an audience that is as broad as possible and that facilitates the participation of multi-stakeholders, in particular people living in poverty.
This article originally appeared in the World Bank's website on October 20 as part of a World Bank "blog series produced to commemorate End Poverty Day (October 17), focusing on China – which has contributed more than any other country to global poverty reduction – and its efforts to end extreme poverty by 2020." To read the series click here.
Interview with Bert Hoffman, World Bank's Country Director for China on the Global Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth Portal