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Innovative Projects Showed in 2nd China Development Marketplace

The World Bank and its partners opened a unique marketplace of development ideas in Beijing on Tuesday. The China Development Marketplace exhibition is open to the public on Tuesday (2:30 PM-5:00 PM) and Wednesday (9:00 AM-3:30 PM) at the China International Trade Center at No.1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing.

"The Development Marketplace brings grass-roots civil society organizations that have good ideas together with corporations, affluent individuals, and foundations that can provide funding. The objective is to support bottom-up innovations that can help China achieve a more harmonious society," said David Dollar, the China Country Director of the World Bank.

"China Development Marketplace is an innovative mechanism in poverty reduction, by mobilizing social resources and having civil society organizations to implement projects," said Mr. Tan Weiping, Deputy Director-General of the External Cooperation Department of the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation. "This new approach helps better target the poor and vulnerable groups and makes more effective use of resources for poverty reduction in China."

The 2nd China Development Marketplace, co-sponsored by the World Bank in partnership with the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Ministry of Civil Affairs, was launched in November 2007 with invitation for proposals for innovative projects from civil society organizations. Chinese civil society organizations from all over the country have submitted almost 500 proposals. The 115 finalists selected by an independent team of experts focus on issues like rural development, energy and environment, migrant workers and their children, HIV/AIDS and rural health, women's development, ethnic minority groups, disability, and post-earthquake reconstruction.

Local and international businesses, foundations and donors have stepped up to provide unprecedented financial support, with over US$1.1 million raised in supporting funds. This builds on the success of the 1st China Development Marketplace, held in February 2006, through which US$650,000 was awarded to 31 innovative civil society projects to address social and environmental issues, all of which were successfully implemented.

The top 115 projects selected as finalists have now been invited to present their projects and compete for grant funding at the colorful two-day Marketplace event. In addition to a grant competition, these two days include a Knowledge Forum to build the capacity of these growing CSOs and facilitate connections among them.

Tomorrow, October 22, an eminent panel of jurors will interview the finalists and select 45-50 winners -- to be announced at the Award Ceremony afterwards. Many of the judges come from China Development Marketplace partner organizations, including government co-sponsors, corporate donors, academia, the NGO community and media. The winners will receive grant funding for the execution of their proposed projects.

Financial sponsors include major Chinese and multinational corporations such as Red Avenue Group Co, Ltd., Lenovo Group, KPMG, Wal-Mart and Ticketmaster; foundations such as Narada Foundation, China Social Entrepreneur Foundation and the Ford Foundation; and the international community, such as the governments of Norway, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Chinese media has provided support to the process, especially SINA, 21st Century Business Herald and City Pictorial.

(China Development Gateway October 21, 2008)

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