China International Development Research Network launches IDS Bulletin in Beijing

24 October 2014

Last month, the China International Development Research Network launched IDS Bulletin ‘China and International Development: challenges and opportunities’ at its 13th Public Event in Beijing.

13th Public Event of the China International Development Research Network launching IDS Bulletin

The IDS Bulletin, ‘China and International Development’ offers a unique collection of articles which shed light on the shifting landscape of China’s engagement in global development at a time, such as the recent release of China’s second White Paper on Foreign Aid.

With contributions from both Chinese and international scholars and policymakers, the Bulletin aims to contribute to dialogue between decision-makers, policy analysts and researchers in China, the UK and other countries. It was produced as part of the IDS Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme.

At the Beijing launch event, Professor Li Xiaoyun, Chair of the China International Development Research Network, RPID Advisory Council member, and Bulletin contributor, said:

"Development knowledge up until this point has been very much Euro-centric, and in many ways, some of its concepts and language are either not relevant to the Chinese context and simply do not translate.

Similarly, there is little knowledge of Chinese concepts and development experiences in traditional development circles. So what language can be used to engage in dialogue? We need to create a two-way knowledge bridge on which China and the rest of the world can communicate. My hope is that the network, and this Bulletin, will contribute towards making this happen."

An expert panel, chaired by Professor Li, provided a range of perspectives on China's development role:

  • Dr. Hu Angang,  Dean of the Institute for Contemporary China Studies School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University 
  • Dr. Stephan Klingeibiel, Head of Department Bi- and Multilateral Development Cooperation, German Development Institute  
  • Mr. Kevin May, Programme Manager, Oxfam HK
  • Ms. Hannah Ryder, Deputy Representative, UNDP China
  • Mr. Richard Carey, Chair, International Advisory Committee of CIDRN; Former Director for Development Cooperation, OECD

Mr Carey, who is also on the Advisory Council for the IDS Rising Powers in International Development programme, discussed the implications of China's rise as a development financer for global reporting and monitoring systems, the theme of one of the Bulletin articles which he co-authored with Xu Jiajun, a Chinese scholar based at Oxford University.

Mr Carey said:

"China's new role as the world's largest exporter of capital underlies the scaling up of its instruments and institutions for investment in developing countries. This is producing an existential challenge for traditional aid definitions and disciplines. But it also means that China has a fundamental interest in the effective use and security of its capital in developing countries. Hence there is a growing common interest in the agenda for fostering effective states and helping with peace and security agendas. China's engagement in international reporting and monitoring systems, existing or new, will be driven by its own vision and interests in financial integrity and sustainability issues at the global level.."

Background on the China International Development Research Network

China's successful development experiences and a growing development cooperation programme have attracted interest from developing countries and the international development community. Yet its research capacity to provide in-depth knowledge and evidence-based policy recommendations is weak.

In response to this, Chinese scholars interested in international development from different disciplinary backgrounds such as international relations, development studies, economics and other related fields have formed an informal network to share their research both amongst themselves and with policymakers in China, and beyond. There are now twenty-eight member institutions.

The China International Development Research Network (CIDRN) was formally launched in July 2013, on the initiative of Professor Li Xiaoyun of the China Agricultural University, with support from the  joint development cooperation programme of China and UK.

Since its launch, the network has generated a number of activities, including its Public Event Series, and joint events, such as with DIE in Mexico City in April 2014 and with JICA in Addis in July 2014. And it has financed a first round research grants and launched a series of policy briefing papers.

With the support of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and UK Department for International Development (DFID), as well as other partners and guided by its International Advisory Committee, and organisational direction from a Management Group of Network members, serviced by the Research Center for International Development at China Agricultural University, the network has gained reputation and recognition in both China and abroad.

Image credit: CIDRN