BEIJING, Nov. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China.org.cn: The Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation: 2023 Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship report was released at the International Forum on Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation – 2nd Event.
On Nov. 6, 2023, the International Forum on Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation – 2nd Event was held at the UN Compound in Beijing. Around 100 representatives of social groups, research institutions, enterprises, government institutions, the media, UN agencies, and other international institutions from China and abroad, as well as farmers who have benefited from various rural development programs and undertakings, attended online and in person.
Co-hosted by the China Internet Information Center (CIIC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Representation in China, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) China Office, the World Food Programme (WFP) China, and the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP-CSAM), the forum showcases experience and inspiration related to the development and transformation of rural areas available to countries around the world by sharing the innovation and entrepreneurship of youth in China and other developing countries.
Nii Quaye-Kumah, IFAD country director and head of its East Asia multi-country office, pointed out that China’s emphasis on cultivating and supporting future new farmers in its rural vitalization strategy is a necessary part of the modernization and urbanization process of smallholder agriculture and that this is a very wise and forward-looking strategic consideration. He observed that increasing numbers of young people have been devoting themselves to agriculture or starting businesses in rural areas, that their use of digital and internet technologies enables them to give full play to innovation and their pioneering spirit. This process thereby injects new elements and energy into the transformation of traditional agriculture. Nii concluded by stating that although there are still many obstacles, young people will inevitably play important participatory and foundational roles in future agriculture, especially China’s agriculture, and that IFAD thus included youth among its institutional strategy’s four thematic support areas.
“China’s people-centered development has led to several accomplishments, including the eradication of extreme poverty,” Siddharth Chatterjee, UN resident coordinator in China, stated in a pre-recorded video message that was played during the event’s opening ceremony. “The experiences of China offer many potential lessons that can be shared with other developing countries on their paths towards sustainable development.”
Wang Xiaohui, editor-in-chief of CIIC, remarked that more emphasis should be placed on the role of youth in promoting global rural vitalization in his opening speech. He indicated that institutional mechanisms should effectively engage knowledgeable, passionate, and energetic young people in order to stimulate innovation and help them develop their abilities and become pillars of rural development. Wang also thought that more global platforms that facilitate exchanges and the sharing of experiences related to rural development among young people should also be created and that new ideas, approaches, and development areas should be pursued.
Wang Yi, executive director of the World Youth Development Forum Secretariat’s organizing committee and executive director of the All-China Youth Federation’s international department, described some of the quintessential undertakings included in the 100 Excellence Actions for Global Youth Development list in her keynote speech. The first of a series of annual lists, it was compiled by an initiative known as the Action Plan for Global Youth Development, which was launched by the organizing committee of the World Youth Development Forum (WYDF) and the All-China Youth Federation in 2022. Wang also mentioned that she thinks that youth play an inspirational role in rural vitalization and that innovation is key. She indicated that as many as 130,000 Chinese young people choose to participate in various rural vitalization projects every year according to incomplete statistics. Wang noted that the WYDF has established a special fund and scholarship program in order to facilitate the provision of small grants and promote capacity building, international communication, advocacy, and publicity pertaining to youth leaders around the world and that this helps get more youth involved with rural vitalization and bolsters sustainable development through scientific and technological innovation.
“Across the globe, young people are increasingly connected, informed, technologically adept, and better educated than any prior generation,” observed Tomomi Ishida, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific social protection officer (rural development), in her keynote speech.
She also remarked that studies consistently indicate that youth tend to encounter unique challenges that are often more profound than what their adult counterparts experience when striving to engage in productive and effective involvement. She concluded by noting that the agendas of youth empowerment and protection thus hold paramount importance in the FAO’s strategies.
The Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation: 2023 Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship report was also released at the forum. It features 15 inspiring stories and case studies related to young innovators and entrepreneurs from China and abroad in areas such as digital agricultural machinery, precision agriculture, the connection of smallholder farmers to markets, financial empowerment and South-South cooperation. The report was jointly compiled by FAO Representation in China, the IFAD China Office, the WFP China Centre of Excellence, ESCAP-CSAM, and the CIIC, and received support from Robert Walker, professor of sociology at Beijing Normal University and professor emeritus and emeritus fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford.
UN Resident Coordinator in China Chatterjee thought that the report signifies a commitment to the fostering of next-generation talents and the encouragement of innovation and that these types of efforts potentially provide key solutions that can be replicated in China as well as other countries facing similar challenges.
“This year’s report is about the enormous contribution that young people could make to China’s goal of rural revitalization,” commented Professor Walker.
He observed that young people have the ability to lead the way with regard to the use of new technologies that have the ability to transform traditional agricultural production and distribution, such as drones, field video systems, smart fisheries, and many others, and that this can contribute to sustainable development but noted that they require financial support, fiscal and tax incentives, on-site support, relevant public services, market access, training, talent introduction, and other forms of support in order to do so, however. Professor Walker concluded by stating that just as young people in China lead the way in rural areas, China leads the way in rural development globally.
The Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation: 2023 Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship report is the second annual report made possible by a research project and knowledge sharing initiative known as the Thematic Study on Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation, which was launched in 2022 by the organizations that hosted the forum. The initiative was created in order to facilitate the outlining and summarization of development trends and practical new techniques and technologies as well as the selection of relevant best practices, with a special emphasis on those that are innovative, sustainable, and applicable to developing countries. It also refines China’s experience in this area and helps accelerate the exchange and application of such experience in developing countries via field visits, case study collection campaigns, media coverage, seminars and other knowledge sharing endeavors.
Second Int‘l Forum on Sci-Tech Empowering Rural Transformation Highlights Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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