Global cooperation key to ‘building back better’ after Covid-19 at fifth annual UK-China Development Forum

Published on 2 December 2020

Professor Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies, joined global policy makers, development specialists and business leaders at the UK-China Development Forum that took place virtually from 1-2 December 2020.

Co-hosted by the Chinese State Council’s Development Research Centre (DRC) and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) the annual event brings together senior government officials and development experts from the UK, China and the wider international development community to discuss shared development priorities and challenges.

This year, the event focussed on global challenges including Covid-19 and lessons from comparing China, Asia and the global response. The ambition was to build understanding of shared challenges and identify opportunities for collaboration and future research.

Keynote speakers included the British Ambassador to China, Caroline Wilson; Li Wei, Chairperson, Committee on Population and Environmental Resources of the CPPCC and Chairman, China Development Research Foundation; Wang Anshun, Vice President, DRC; Han Changfu, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; and Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary General OECD.

Commenting on the event, Professor Melissa Leach said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced that the greatest challenges we face are global, complex and interrelated. Finding lasting solutions requires international dialogue and knowledge sharing which is why the UK-China Development Forum is so important.

“Each year, it brings together leading development scientists, policy makers, governments and business to discuss opportunities for multilateral cooperation between global actors, China and the UK. This year, it has never felt more timely or more critical to have these conversations and share our learnings from the current health crisis.”

Professor Melissa Leach spoke as part of a session dedicated to comparing country experiences of Covid-19, the lessons most relevant for developing countries and identifying where the UK and China could work together to support future response. The discussion was chaired by Gong Sen, Executive Vice President, Centre for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD) with speakers including Charlotte Watts, FCDO Chief Scientific Advisor, and Zunyou Wu, Chief Epidemiologist, China Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The event is part of IDS’ ongoing commitment to international development cooperation including China’s role in global development and government. IDS is partner to the China International Development Research Network (CIDRN) and is the UK Anchor institute for China International Development Research Collaboration, with funding from the FCDO. Through this initiative IDS is strengthening links between researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the UK and China to share knowledge, evidence and learning, towards building long-term cooperation on a variety of development themes.


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