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2nd China Development Marketplace Launched

In partnership with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA) and State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Reduction and Development (LGOP), the World Bank on Thursday launched the 2nd China Development Marketplace (China DM), a program aiming to provide a platform for the most innovative Chinese civil society organizations (CSO) and successful businesses, individuals and foundations to identify and support innovative bottom-up development ideas.

Initiated by the World Bank, development marketplace (DM) is a competitive grant mechanism to fund innovative ideas and projects from grassroots organizations and CSOs. Since 1998, the World Bank has provided more than US$40 million to over 1,000 projects at global and country DMs held in some 70 countries. A significant amount of the grant funds has come from the private sector and foundations.

Jointly with the LGOP and MoCA, the 1st China DM was held in February 2006. Nearly 1,000 CSOs proposed innovative projects to address social and environmental issues. Great efforts were made to mobilize resources extensively. There were several large contributions from Chinese and foreign companies. Through a competitive process, 31 best projects were selected for awards. All of the projects were successfully implemented on the ground. Rigorous project monitoring and supervision ensured the effective use of the grant funds.

Building on the earlier success, with great support from the Ministry of Finance, the World Bank and its partners have decided to launch the 2nd China DM. The 2nd China DM focuses on the theme of supporting innovations for a harmonious society, reflecting the joint efforts of the World Bank and the government to achieve the goal of building a harmonious society by identifying and supporting innovations from CSOs and mobilizing all resources to reduce poverty and address various development challenges.

After the launch, Chinese CSOs will be invited to submit their project concepts in November and December. An independent team of assessors will select 100 finalists, who will be invited to Beijing for a public exhibition of their projects in early June 2008, and be interviewed by a jury. Winning projects will be selected to receive funding up to 200,000 yuan at a grand ceremony attended by senior government officials, sponsors, academia and CSO representatives.

"China Development Marketplace plays a very positive role in helping CSOs improve their project management, strengthen their capacities, easing their funding shortage and enhancing their influence," said Sun Weilin, Director-General of the Department of NGO Administration, MoCA.

Wu Zhong, Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation and Social Mobilization, LGOP emphasized the role of the CSOs. "The role of CSOs in helping the vulnerable groups, providing social services, creating employment and many other areas must not be neglected," said he. "Giving positive guidance to the sound development of CSOs will contribute to building a harmonious society."

The World Bank will take the lead in contributing funds to the grant pool and also covering most of the administrative expenses. Additional funds will be raised from foundations, companies, individuals and international donor agencies with an interest to support grassroots and CSO innovations.

David Dollar, World Bank Country Director for China called for contribution to the China DM from the business sector. "China has had great development success, but it also faces some important challenges of environmental protection and social development. Experience worldwide and now in China has shown that grassroots civil society groups are often most effective at designing solutions to these problems. Chinese government now welcomes the contribution of civil society groups. Chinese companies are also growing in economic strength. There are more and more successful firms and affluent individuals who would like to give something back to society. China Development Marketplace gives them this opportunity," said Mr. Dollar.

Xu Yongguang, Secretary-General of the Narada Foundation expressed support for the China DM. "China Development Marketplace is a program of social innovation. Its growth needs the attention, support and involvement of the government, businesses and CSOs. The Narada Foundation is ready to contribute to this program, in terms of promotion, information dissemination and human resources," said Mr. Xu. "We would like to see faster growth and prosperity of good CSOs and projects. That is why we attach great importance to the China DM."

(China Development Gateway November 8, 2007)

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