With the 2015 deadline for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals looming, IFPRI facilitated an international policy consultation to identify actions needed to ensure the world’s poorest and hungry people would not be left behind. The cornerstone of this consultation was an international conference in October 2007 in Beijing, co-organized with the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development of China and cohosted with the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). The conference was supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action), the European Commission (EC), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (BMZ/GTZ), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Irish Aid. China’s vice premier of the State Council opened the conference, which was attended by more than 400 registered participants (and many more informal attendees), including high-level policymakers, researchers, and practitioners from 40 countries.
This conference benefitted from not only coinciding with the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, but also of closely aligning with the congress’ focus on society’s most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Hui Liangyu, vice premier of China’s State Council, used the conference as a forum to announce China’s plans to strengthen inclusive anti-poverty partnerships and China’s collaboration with partner countries and international organizations on poverty reduction strategies. The event was attended by many congress members; drew enormous media attention within China and globally; and fed into the State Council’s own meetings, which promptly followed the congress and the conference.
- The conference honed in on a major issue that was relevant at the time and remains so today: South–South learning. China, which has already made significant reductions in poverty and hunger—despite also facing the issue of those left behind—had and continues to have a lot to offer other countries by way of relevant experience. Similarly, China itself had the opportunity of, and was interested in, benefitting from the experiences of countries like Brazil, in the area of social protection, and India, in the area of agricultural growth. The conference facilitated these learning experiences and laid the seeds for further networking.
- More than 90 percent of respondents in a postconference survey of participants agreed that the conference provided them with a good opportunity to implement strategies and actions to successfully reduce hunger and poverty, as well as to learn from the experiences of others.