Beijing – On 15 May 2023, the South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Forum was held at the UN Compound in Beijing. Taking the opportunity of the first anniversary of the WFP-China South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Platform, the World Food Programme (WFP) discussed outcomes associated with the site that have been achieved thus far and relevant future plans, as well as proposed the joint initiative on knowledge sharing partnership for South-South Cooperation in collaboration with key partners, with the goal of fostering and strengthening South-South-oriented information exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and collaboration.
Nearly 100 representatives from government departments, embassies in China, research institutes and think tanks, NGOs and other international organizations, the private sector, and the media from 18 countries attended in person or online.The event was hosted by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and China International Communications Group (CICG) and co-organized by the WFP Centre of Excellence for Rural Transformation (WFP China COE) and CICG subsidiary China Internet Information Center (CIIC).
“Promoting knowledge sharing requires the consensus and joint efforts of the international community,” emphasized CICG President Du Zhanyuan in his opening remarks at the South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Forum. He also encouraged and advocated diverse actors to contribute to this process, reiterating, for example, that as the core of the international system, UN agencies play an important role; governments of developing countries can help improve governance; universities, research institutions, think tanks, and various associations can lend their expertise; and media can provide publicity; and that promotion of knowledge sharing concepts and practices can be strengthened through policy dialogues, academic exchanges, creation and development of various platforms, provision of training courses, and other endeavors.
Qu Sixi, WFP China Representative, highlighted the critical role of the WFP-China South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Platform in responding to growing demands for web-based knowledge sharing in a digitalized world and helping developing countries improve food security and facilitate rural transformation. He also indicated that the wisdom and expertise that technical partners contribute will enable it to function as a hub that promotes South-South knowledge and technology exchange.
“The launch of the South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Platform is an example of digital solutions for South-South agricultural exchanges and cooperation,” stated Ni Hongxing, Counsel (Director-General level), Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (MARA).”We hope that the platform, together with its Cloud School, could better tap into China’s experience in smallholder development, resilient food systems, agricultural value chain, agricultural biodiversity, and climate change responses to help more developing countries improve their capacities in food production and disaster prevention more efficiently and innovatively.”
“China’s development progress can serve as an example for much of the developing world,” remarked Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China.”China currently feeds almost 20% of the world’s population while having less than 10% of the world’s arable land. In addition, in 2020 China announced the remarkable achievement of eliminating extreme poverty nationally, a significant advance towards meeting the targets of SDG1. China is now focused on advancing rural revitalization to build rural prosperity and to reduce the gaps that exist between rural and urban areas. These experiences can provide important lessons learned for the rest of the world and help to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.”
“South-South Cooperation is a fundamental development instrument for promoting economic and social advancement in emerging economies and other developing countries,” stated Ashwani K. Muthoo, Director General of New Development Bank’s Independent Evaluation Office. “The forum offers a unique opportunity to further underline that knowledge sharing is critical for meeting the SDGs, and I believe that moving forward, enhanced attention could be devoted to sharing good practices, lessons, and insights on evaluation matters so that emerging economies and developing countries can themselves conduct more robust and methodologically sound evaluations as a basis for improved developed impact and livelihoods.”
“WFP and China have been partners for more than four decades on building a resilient and sustainable food system,” mentioned David Kaatrud, WFP Programme Director of Humanitarian and Development Division. “As WFP continues to address the challenges holding back more systematic South-South and triangular cooperation engagement and in responding to emerging demands, we look forward to aligning and coordinating our knowledge management efforts with various stakeholders within and outside the WFP system and would like to see this knowledge platform play a bigger role in enhancing evidence generation and mutual learning in South-South and triangular cooperation engagement.”
Li Xiaoyun, Chair Professor of China Agricultural University, moderated a discussion known as the “High-level Dialogue on the Role of Science and Technology in South-South Cooperation Oriented towards Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals,” which Wu Pute, President of Northwest A&F University; Li Chengwei, President of Henan University of Technology; Du Taisheng, Vice President of China Agricultural University; and Ding Yanfeng, Vice President of Nanjing Agricultural University participated in. Thematic discussions on “Resilient Food System Transformation Against Climate Change” and “Digital Empowerment for Inclusive Development” were also held at the event.
Jia Yan, Head of SSC at WFP China, described some of the outcomes associated with the WFP-China South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Platform that had been achieved over the past year and discusses future plans for the site. She said, the platform serves as a new form of digital SSC and makes it possible to reach greater numbers of people. More than 1,000 knowledge products, including case studies and policy reference materials, have been published, and more than 2.5 million page views have been logged by visitors from 84 countries and regions since it was launched.
Wang Xiaohui, Editor-in-Chief of CIIC, observed that the South-South Cooperation Knowledge Sharing Forum had been an inspiring and fruitful communication and exchange journey in his closing speech. He also expected the Joint Initiative on Knowledge Sharing Partnership for South-South Cooperation will promote the deepening of exchanges and cooperation among institutions and make new contributions to global food security and sustainable development.
Visitors can access information on the platform about China’s experiences and solutions in the following four thematic areas: Value Chain Development for Small holders, Post-harvest Loss Management and Food Systems, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Resilience, and Innovative Poverty Alleviation Initiative. The platform also offers Cloud School, an inclusive digital education space, which features programmes that are tailored to the needs of participants of all levels. It is a response to the rising demand for China’s vetted knowledge about food security, nutrition improvement, poverty alleviation and rural transformation.
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