This is an extract of an interview of Mr Matteo Marchisio, Country Representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in China, at China.org.cn on 20 March 2018. The published article is available at: http://p.china.org.cn/2018-03/21/content_50731631.htm .
1. In his remarks at the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress today, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China will win the battle against poverty. How do you comment China’s determination to eliminate poverty?
As a development professional in an organization dedicated to poverty eradication and rural development globally, I cannot not admire and commend the tireless commitment of the Chinese people to eradicate poverty in China, as reflected by the words of their leader, President Xi Jinping. I do believe that the strong and continuous commitment to poverty eradication over four decades, which translated in the mobilization of the whole society towards the achievement of this goal, is probably the main factor behind the success of China in reducing, and soon eliminating, extreme poverty in the country.
China's commitment and determination to eliminate poverty is an example and a message of hope for the rest of the world: with a clear vision and a strong commitment, ending poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals is possible.
2. President Xi also mentioned that China would continue to participate in global governance, to build a peaceful, safe, open and prosperous world. What kind of role do you think China can play in this process?
Being the second largest economy and the most populated country in the world, China has certainly a role and a shared responsibility towards global public goods. In this contest, the confirmation from President Xi that China would continue to participate in the discussion around global issues is, in my personal view, an important indication of the willingness of China to accept such role and share such responsibility.
From a development perspective, the world can certainly benefit from China's experience and lessons in eradicating poverty. China can become an advocate and champion of the sustainable development agenda, that is to say a world free of poverty by 2030.
3. As the first country director in China, could you please briefly introduce your work plan? And how do you think China and IFAD can cooperate in rural development?
My appointment as representative of my organization, the International Fund of Agricultural Development, IFAD, a specialized organization of the United Nations dedicated to poverty reduction and rural development, comes at a critical juncture in China.
On the one hand, once achieved the goal of eradicating "extreme" poverty, China would soon face the "next questions": first, how to sustain this achievement, avoiding that the people that were moved out of poverty fall back into poverty; and second, how to reduce inequalities, particularly between rural and urban areas. IFAD can support China in addressing these challenges by bringing international experiences, lessons, and best practices from other countries that went through similar pathways.
On the other hand, China' success in eradicating poverty has generated a number of lessons that can benefit other development countries. IFAD, together with other agencies of the United Nations, multilateral development banks, bilateral organizations, and other development partners, can facilitate sharing China' successful experience and lessons in eradicating poverty to other countries of the "South" through what we call "South-South Cooperation".