China's NGOs urged to play bigger role on global issues

Updated: 2016-04-19 23:05


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China's NGOs urged to play bigger role on global issues

Participants discuss NGO's role in Asian development cooperation during the seminar in Beijing, April 19, 2016. [Photo provided to]

China is encouraging its non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to play a wider role in global issues such as climate change, counter-terrorism, poverty alleviation and food security, according to a senior commerce ministry official.

Xiao Fenghuai, deputy director general of the ministry's China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, said NGOs should act as an important agent of China's "soft power" and contribute an effective Chinese voice on global governance.

He was speaking in Beijing at a two-day international seminar on the role of non-governmental bodies, entitled "Non-State Actors in Asian Development Cooperation: The Role of Non-governmental Organizations".

Xiao noted that, with their increasing impact and growing agenda, NGOs had become a significant force in tackling global issues.

He said China is gradually moving away from a government-oriented approach on foreign aid and is trying to bring more non-governmental organizations into the field.

China had about 662,000 registered NGOs by the end of 2015, of which 516 – or less than one per cent – were involved in foreign relations issues.

The April 19-20 seminar is jointly hosted by the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO), the Korea Development Institute, the Asia Foundation, and Australia's Foreign Affairs and Trade Department.

Some 30 senior officials from Chinese NGOs are attending, along with representatives of NGOs and international organizations from 10 other countries, including Japan, the United States and Australia.

Topics include history and the role of civil society in development cooperation in Asia and the institutional framework for civil society activities.