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China – IPRCC as a platform for South-South cooperation

Organization(s)

International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (IPRCC) closely connected with China's State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Finance. IPRCC is also linked with the UNDP, WB, ADB, DFID

Country (ies)

China, Africa, Asia and Pacific region, Latin America

Overview

IPRCC launched in 2005, is an international organization jointly initiated by the Chinese Government, the UNDP and other international organizations. The Boards of Trustees and Advisors have been established. IPRCC has grown to be one of the flagship organizations in China for S-S cooperation. Core activities

1) Organizing international exchange on Poverty Reduction through sharing of knowledge, information and experiences
2) Providing training and consultancy services to professionals involved in poverty reduction worldwide
3) Organizing theoretical and applied research for knowledge building, policy analysis and advocacy
Cooperating with international organizations to design and implement poverty reduction programs for specific needs in developing countries

Background

The IPRCC was an outcome of the commitments made by World Leaders at the Global Conference on Scaling up Poverty Reduction held in Shanghai in May, 2004 and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was jointly signed by LGOP, MOFCOM and the UNDP on May 27, 2004 for the establishment of the International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (IPRCC). The World Bank, ADB and DFID were also partners in establishing IPRCC. On September 14, 2005 at the UN 60th Anniversary Summit on Development Funding, the Chinese President H.E. Mr. Hu Jintao declared "IPRCC was established in Beijing with a mission to make contributions to the Global Poverty Reduction". The top leadership of Chinese Government has been very much involved in setting up and allocating financial and human resources to IPRCC. In addition, the International aid agencies provided full support with resource and technical assistance. Both Chinese government ministries, LGOP and International aid agencies are in the Board of Trustees. IPRCC is reportable and accountable to LGOP, which is the highest body in Poverty Reduction policy making and implementation.

Gradually because of meaningful work of IPRCC, donors and international professionals are getting attracted to work for and with IPRCC. However this will remain a continuous challenge for IPRCC.

China's comparative advantages

- China herself is a developing country and has the experience of uplifting a massive population above poverty
- Has practical experiences in developing policies, systems and mobilizing people
- Functional government initiatives

There were several development challenges in the initial period of setting up and embarking on initiatives to play a role in reducing global poverty

1) Getting support from the leadership of Chinese government
2) Recruiting right kind of committed and competent researchers, trainers, communicators, leaders and managers
3) Generating funds for institution building and activities
4) Building connections with International Organizations and Networks
5) Identifying relevant activities and implementing those.

The Mission of IPRCC is to make contributions in reducing poverty around the world through promotion of policy research, experience sharing, international exchange and South-South Cooperation. IPRCC should become a platform and hub of such exchanges and dissemination. Partners who got involved with IPRCC understood that there were enormous experiences of China in alleviating poverty thus China was a storehouse of such learning. By participating in the activities of IPRCC the partners could learn and take those lessons to their own countries to adapt and implement for alleviating poverty among the poor and the disadvantaged among their people.

Implementation

Training: Since its inception, IPRCC has held 20 sessions of training seminars, involving 493 senior and middle level officials from 82 countries. In particular, the Experience-Sharing Program on Development between China and Africa in 2008 and 2009 attracted 64 officials from 35 African counties, of which 30 were ministerial and vice-ministerial officials.

Research: IPRCC has a professional research team. It implements research projects on poverty reduction and development independently and with other research institutions. With regard to South-South Cooperation, it is conducting a comparative research on poverty reduction models of China and South Asia, and comparative research on poverty reduction models of China and Africa.

Exchange: IPRCC has organized Poverty Reduction and Development Forums on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty since 2007, China-ASEAN Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction for three consecutive years. These have also become regular annual events.

Cooperation: IPRCC has selected Tanzania as a pilot country to promote a realistic and meaningful cooperation with Africa. It has recommended relevant experts to the World Bank Tanzanian Office to provide consultancy for agricultural policy and poverty reduction. It will also establish pilot projects to apply China's successful poverty reduction and development model. IPRCC now has set about the preparation.

In addition to the above, IPRCC also disseminates and exchanges information through its publications and website.

All IPRCC activities are focused and oriented towards South-South Cooperation among developing countries, which are sponsored by IPRCC, the Chinese government and international organizations. Some of the training and research programs are assigned and commissioned by the Chinese government. China shares its successful experience in poverty reduction and development with the participants from those countries.

Developing countries approach IPRCC with requests for assistance and IPRCC also generates interests in the developing countries. Donor agencies facilitate this process as well.

Southern countries desiring to create similar agencies can learn from IPRCC
- Setting up a good organization with relevant capacities
- Organizational systems development and professionalizing
- Building capacity and exchange mechanisms
- Attracting government and donor support
Challenges Southern countries may face

- Mobilizing resources
- Getting government and donor support
- Running programs with integrity
- Developing, designing and implementing serious, meaningful programs
- Developing a responsive bureaucracy
- Research and training capacity development
- Highest level of concern for the poor

When an organization does excellent work it can talk to the resource providers at par. One advantage is that China has substantial expertise in technical fields. Donors' technical assistance and China's technical expertise put together will result in better and higher outputs.

Outcomes:

Over the past five years, IPRCC has grown to become one of the top flagship organizations in China for South-South Cooperation focusing on poverty reduction. The relations between the IPRCC and the receiving countries/governments/organizations become more intensive through the SSC activities. As there are more exchanges and interactions, the linkages are broadening. The planned achievements are to disseminate China's successful experiences in poverty reduction and development, improve the capacity building of the recipients. Beyond that, the recipients know more about China, including China's economic, social and cultural background, foreign-aid policy, and dynamics of development. Likewise, IPRCC has accumulated extremely useful first-hand knowledge on other countries, which will be beneficial for China's overall and effective foreign aid.

Since the efforts focus on the capacity building, the outcomes will be sustainable to improve the recipients' capacity of poverty alleviation. But it would be hard to replicate the successful models in different countries, as each country has unique conditions and challenges. However, the experience and lessons we accumulate will be valuable for us to guide the SSC efforts by adapting to specific contexts.

The long-term projects will depend to a high degree on the global environment and conditions. It is hard to tell what will happen. But the SSC activities will be definitely conducive to the improvement of developing countries.

IPRCC is slowly getting visibility around the world and building trusts among the developing countries, governments, peoples and donors. There need to be more investments in people and more resources for joint programming. IPRCC will have to promote internationalization and professionalizing its activities by attracting professional researchers as fellows and become part of international forums and networks. The incentive mechanisms in the organization should be such that it can retain professional staff.

Aid Effectiveness:

The experience of IPRCC in implementing its Training, Research, Exchange and Cooperation activities has strengthened the synergies between what IPRCC has been doing and the aid effectiveness principles formulated by the Ministers of States and Heads of Bilateral and Multilateral Organizations in Paris in 2003. As examples it can be mentioned that the IPRCC has promoted a number of aid effectiveness principles, some highlighted ones are : 1) learning and adapting to different developing country situation, 2) Ownership by both sides, the providers, China and the recipients, African and Asian countries, 3) Alignment with partners' strategies, 4) Strengthening country systems, 5) Strengthening partner countries' development capacity, 6) Harmonization and Complementarity, 7) Delivering effective aid in fragile countries, 8) Mutual Accountability etc.

All programs of IPRCC are aimed at promoting the principles of Aid Effectiveness. The Chinese Leadership has given full support to the endeavors of IPRCC. For Example the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs etc. China's national priorities are to alleviate poverty in China and taking the people on a path to development and prosperity. With tremendous success of China in Poverty Reduction in the last couple of decades, it is now felt by the Chinese Leadership that they should share their experiences with the Developing countries and assist them reduce poverty. With this end in view, the IPRCC was set up and in the last 4 years their programs have been geared to achieve this mission through South-South Cooperation. The implementation of the programs has been harmonized and coordinated with other stakeholders through needs assessment, consultation and exchange of information.

Regarding 'managing for results' it may be mentioned that there are plans to implement this principle, but the organization and its activities are still going through the experience for not so long a time, only 4 years. This principle is definitely in our plans when we develop and implement concrete cooperation projects with developing countries, especially with Africa.

Whether there is pressure or no-pressure, aid has to be utilized honestly and effectively in the greater interests of the people, especially people at the bottom, the poor, the women and children. Investments for the poor should reach the poor. They must be aligned to the national culture, values, plans and priorities. Concern for the poor and aid utilization need to be at the highest level.

Capacity Development:

IPRCC is still a young organization. Over the years, IPRCC has invested in staff capacity development through SSC, study tours and training provided by international organizations such as UNDP and World Bank (IDF). Several study tours to the IPC in Brazil, and World Bank were organized and training courses on Monitoring, and Impact Evaluation were organized. Some of the lessons that it has learned from these years of implementing its training, research and exchange activities may be summarized as follows
1) IPRCC has established meaningful relations with the governments of the developing countries with which they have worked.
2) It has developed a sense of ownership among the stakeholders about the real value of South-South Cooperation, which needs to be further developed
3) An enabling environment has been evolving in IPRCC where it has developed a solid team dedicated to South-South Cooperation

Such lessons and practical interaction and exchange between IPRCC and the developing countries have led to capacity building of IPRCC and to developing a concrete 3-Year project proposal (2009-2012) on "Strengthening the Capacity of International Poverty Reduction Centre in China for South-South Cooperation". Under the project tailored capacity building activities will be taken up to provide needed training, collaborate on applied research and comparative study, fostering networking and facilitate professional exchanges. It will also actively engage in organizing high level policy dialogues between China and the world on Poverty Reduction.

Duration

Started in 2005 -- On going

Budget (Optional)

IPRCC Revenue and Expenditures 2008 (excluding capital investments) Total revenue: $3.44 million, Total expenditures: $2.287million,

Name of Primary Contact Person

Ms. Li Xin Title of Primary Contact Person Deputy Division Chief, Division of Exchanges, International, Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC)

City

Beijing