On 17th December 2020, the Institute of International Development and Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC), organized the 2020 Forum on China and International Development, under the theme of “Commemoration, Succession and Innovation – 70 years of China’s Foreign Aid and Transformation to International Development Cooperation” in Beijing.
This annual event aims at stimulating discussions on key international development cooperation issues, facilitating dialogues among governments, academia and industries, establishing consensus and synergies, in order to cope with new challenges faced globally. Three parallel fora, namely International Development Cooperation for Health and China’s Role in the New Era, Green Recovery and South-South Cooperation, Crisis Response and China’s Role under COVID-19, took place both online and in person.
Mr. Hagen Ettner, German Director of the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), participated in the Parallel Forum Green Recovery and South-South Cooperation and introduced in his contribution the roles of CSD and the benefits of triangular cooperation to recipient countries, China and Germany, with a focus on biodiversity.
Safeguarding of global public goods such as clean air and water, biodiversity and climate change mitigation is one of the biggest challenges for the 21st century. Biodiversity is fundamental in the context of climate change: ecosystems store carbon emissions and at the same time protect us against climate impacts. More broadly, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals will only be met if biodiversity loss is halted. The loss of biodiversity has its greatest impact on the poor but ultimately affects all societies and economies.
As the host of UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), China’s influence and responsibility for the negotiation of an ambitious and effective global biodiversity framework is strong and exceptional. Germany and China have worked successfully together on development topics for 40 years. From the 2000s, environment and climate are key cooperation areas.
Building on previous successful bilateral cooperation, a triangular project on Fair and Effective Protected Area Management for Sustainable Development was launched in October 2020 together with Zambia and Namibia under the framework of the CSD. The project aims to improve the quality of protected area management in Namibia and Zambia through the implementation of the ‘IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas’, a global standard of best practice for area-based conservation. It makes the vast technical expertise, good practices and lessons learnt China has collected in sustainable management of its protected areas and in the Green List certification process available to African partners. At the same time, it can build on the commitment of the German government to African biodiversity conservation which contributes a large part of the funds to sustainably secure protected areas.
Compared with other forms of development cooperation such as bilateral North-South, South-South, regional or multilateral cooperation, triangular work has the potential to not only create benefits and better impacts for host countries as compared to unconnected, parallel bilateral projects but also stimulate an exchange on main-streaming policies and practices which have effects on the whole cooperation systems. Experience shows that a combination of joint implementation of projects and a dialogue on policies and technical issues has the best effects and can help making our development cooperation work more effective and efficient. The year 2020 marked the 70th anniversary of China’s foreign aid. CAITEC, as one of the leading think tanks in this field, launched it’s first “Report on China and International Development 2020”, which provides a review of Chinese foreign aid in the past seven decades and the new issues, analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 and the outlook for international development cooperation in the post pandemic era.