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NGOs Hold Conference for Poverty Reduction
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in China will play a more active role in poverty alleviation as a "partner" of the government, said a NGO official Sunday.

Yang Rudai, honorary president of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), attributed China's remarkable achievements in poverty relief in the past 20 years to the joint efforts by the Chinese government and the whole of society, including NGOs.

About 50 billion yuan (US$6 billion) in funds has been financed by domestic and overseas NGOs for poverty reduction in China since mid-1980s, he said at the International Conference on NGO Poverty Reduction Policy that opened here Sunday.

The government has the strong capacity to mobilize resources and implement new systems while carrying out poverty-relief programs, said Kang Xiaoguang from the National Conditions Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

But the government is relatively weak in improving efficiency and targeting the specific needs of certain poor groups, he said.

"NGOs happen to have some characteristics that the government does not have," he said. A good cooperation between the government and NGOs will have a better result in poverty reduction.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) official Rolf Zelius said NGOs will help develop links between government administrations and the local people so that the poverty-alleviation programs will produce better effects.

NGOs are involved in implementing more than half of the ADB projects, he added.

According to official statistics, about 3.69 billion yuan (US$445 million) was put in poverty alleviation in China through NGOs last year.

China now has nearly 30 million people living in absolute poverty.

About 250 experts and delegates from 160 Chinese and overseas NGOs and international organizations attended the three-day conference sponsored by the CFPA.

(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2001)

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