Speech at the Seminar on “Global Partnerships for Poverty Reduction” on Knowledge Sharing in the Int
As Prepared for Delivery
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, partners and friends,
I would like to thank the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in particular the Directorate General for Cooperation for hosting today’s event and the organizers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the China Internet Information Center and the International Poverty Reduction Center in China for making today’s event possible.
I feel honored and inspired by all the different experiences in poverty reduction and innovative approaches that aim at contributing to the full eradication of poverty by 2030 that I have listened to today and during this week of events.
When 189 countries came together to sign the historic millennium declaration at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, almost no one could have predicted that the goal of halving global poverty by 2015 would have been achieved five years earlier or that China would have been responsible for three-quarters of that achievement at the global level.
The success in achieving the 2015 poverty reduction target has taught us that with the right policies, good governance and a concerted effort, we can aim at achieving the total eradication of poverty. Indeed, arguably, we now know far better than a few years ago how to combat poverty and how to bring an end to it. Think of Brazil’s Bolsa Familia supporting the implementation of social safety nets and cash transfer schemes; or China’s success story in rapidly transforming its economic structure and lifting out of poverty almost 700 million people in just less than 30 years. Poverty reduction experts have been sharing experiences, and ideas on what works and what needs to be abandoned drawing lessons from these stunning achievements. However, many international experts also argue that the pre-conditions and factors that helped to achieve some of the MDG targets only a few years ago - such as rapid and sustained economic growth, the liberalization of markets, and improvements in governance and institutional design - are less visible if not absent in some of the key countries that today are called upon to make a substantial contribution to the next generation's leap towards complete poverty eradication. In addition, with the recent economic slowdown in some of the countries that led to the previously mentioned achievements of the MDGs, concerns about the vulnerability and resilience of those countries following in their footsteps are growing; their income levels are in fact still well below the poverty threshold of developed economies. Notwithstanding earlier achievements, in October 2015, the Government of China declared that China will complete by 2020 the job of totally eradicating poverty by sustainably lifting the livelihoods and income opportunities of the remaining 55 million extreme rural poor, that is, 10 years earlier than the international target of 2030.
In an effort to help China sharing its success stories and to provide other countries in the global South with a means to share knowledge on poverty reduction, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and China Internet Information Center came together to support the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) in the design and development of a knowledge platform that would allow members to share information on poverty reduction and inclusive growth. The result of these efforts is the Global Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth (GPIG) Portal. In the portal, information is built on five main sectors (urban, rural, social, finance and infrastructure), on four topics (the SDGs, vulnerability, gender and the environment), on regions, publications and reports, and on tools and innovations.
Aware that for poverty to be eradicated, growth needs to be sustainable and inclusive, the portal aims at focusing not only on poverty reduction but also on sharing knowledge on how to design policies and programs that are gender-sensitive, truly inclusive and that contribute to finding innovative ways to face the challenges posed by increasing inequalities. Together with rapid economic growth, China and India have seen widening inequality. Experts have reported extensively on the causes of inequality and on the consequences of not addressing increasing disparities in a responsible and effective manner. It is now well known among development practitioners that the richest 1% of the world’s population control up to 40% of global assets, while the poorest half owns just one per cent. Income inequalities also tend to be bigger within a country rather than between countries. By addressing these issues, the portal aims to contribute to knowledge sharing on at least 6 of the SDGs. Namely, SDG1 (no poverty); SDG2 (zero hunger); SDG5 (gender equality); SDG9 (industry innovation and infrastructure), SDG10 (reduced inequalities) and SDG17 (partnerships for the goals).
The portal has come a long way from its launching ceremony almost one year ago in Beijing. Today the portal is a repository of over 3,000 articles with 30 regular columns and country pages. It also counts with a network of 40 policy research institutes, think tanks and international organizations, many of which are currently engaged with IPRCC in international cooperation initiatives focusing on knowledge sharing and capacity building activities for poverty reduction. Most importantly the portal is being used. In fact, in just seven months since its official launching in May 2016, the portal received over 51,000 visits.
Emphasizing the important role of ICTs in poverty reduction, during his speech at the launching ceremony of the GPIG portal in May 2016, World Bank’s Country Director for China, Mongolia and Korea, Bert Hofman, said that there is “growing evidence that internet-based information sharing can promote more efficient cooperation, economic growth, and social inclusion, with less unequal information access than traditional ways.” China’s 13th Five Year Plan includes the ICT sector in many of its priority projects. The Government’s Internet Plus plan for poverty reduction outlines a five-tier strategy based on increasing broadband coverage, promoting rural e-commerce, increasing access to online education resources, enhancing information services and supporting internet philanthropy.
The GPIG portal aims at continuing its contribution to knowledge sharing on poverty reduction and inclusive growth and at promoting online and offline activities that support this goal. Access to ICT is crucial, but usage of the resources that are already in place is as important. In its next phase, the portal faces challenges that could hamper its further development and its goal to become truly international. During recent consultations with our network aimed at identifying what drives usage and what can limit it, participants have listed language and lack of dedicated knowledge management experts in situ as some of the major factors that could hinder a more active participation. The GPIG team and IPRCC are working on strategies that address these concerns. For our goals to be achieved, it will take not only the political will of the Government of China and of IPRCC and CIIC, but also the support and commitment of international organizations and of all stakeholders.
This speech was first delivered at the “Seminar on Global Poverty Reductions” at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome on April, 28, 2017. For more information on that event or to see the event's presentations, please visit: http://en.chinagate.cn/news/node_7247885.htm