Technological innovations and global partnerships key to eliminating poverty and hunger

Photo credits Yang Xiaoxiao

South-South and Triangular Cooperation: a strategic tool to meet the Sustainable Development Goals

22/05/2019 - 

ROME - The 2019 annual International Seminar on Global Poverty Reduction Partnerships that was held on May 15, at the margins of the Expo for International Cooperation (EXCO 2019), highlighted the role of technological innovations and global partnerships in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including accelerating poverty reduction and eradicating hunger.

The seminar was organized by three Rome-based UN agencies (RBAs) - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), together with the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) and the China Internet Information Centre (CIIC).

More specifically, this year's seminar discussed how to better use technological innovations in rural areas to promote inclusive development, food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, gender equality and reduce rural poverty. Partnerships, with a special focus on South-South and Triangular Cooperation, were highlighted as key to promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speaking about how WFP is effectively using technology and innovation to reach the people they serve, WFP’s Deputy Executive Director Amir Abdulla said, “We are using biometrics, blockchain, digital cash, drones and satellite imagery to reduce poverty, among other tools to promote food security and sustainable development in rural areas”. He called for further efforts to invest in infrastructure and human capital so that developing countries can use technology to connect farmers to markets, produce data and analytics for decision making and tackle climate change.

Xia Gengsheng, Vice Minister of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Reduction and Development, spoke about China’s efforts in combating poverty. China has lifted over 82 million rural poor out of poverty, with the rural poor population down from 99 million in 2012 to 16.6 million in 2018. The poverty rate has significantly decreased from 10.2 percent to 1.7 percent. Xia Gengsheng said, “We need to continue to push forward, fight against poverty with perseverance, consolidate current achievements and reduce poverty for more people”. The Chinese government is working on its post-2020 strategy for poverty reduction.

Ashwani K. Muthoo, Director of the Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division at IFAD, added, "Innovative technologies – and ICTs in particular – are a very effective vehicle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 1 and 2. This event is a clear demonstration of the importance of developing and strengthening knowledge partnerships – including between the RBAs and China –to reduce poverty and eradicate hunger".

During his closing remarks, Mr Shengyao Tang, Director of the Office of South-South and Triangular Cooperation of FAO speaking on behalf of the RBAs, highlighted the importance of this Seminar for disseminating successful experiences on the use of technological innovations for rural development, flagging that sharing these innovations is useful for all development actors. Furthermore, he added that the Seminar serves as a platform for raising awareness on the key role that global partnerships play in sustainable development, which is at the core of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, and pointed out that the engagement of new actors such as developing banks and private sector is key for sharing knowledge about technological innovations that contribute to meet the 2030 Agenda.

The seminar was attended by participants from governments, international organizations, private sector, civil society and academia.