On 2 July 2020, Dr. Linxiu Zhang, the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme- International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), was invited to attend an online seminar on "Rural Revitalization and Poverty Alleviation under the COVID-19 crisis" held by the School of Economics and Management of China Agricultural University.
Focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social development, this online seminar discussed key issues such as how to effectively pave the way between poverty alleviation and rural revitalization, how to achieve continuous poverty eradication and overall revitalization in poor areas, and how to set the elimination of the absolute poverty as the new starting point and further alleviate relative poverty. The meeting was organized by Professor Fan Shenggen, Chair Professor of China Agricultural University and former Director of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and hosted by Professor Wei si, the \ Professor of China Agricultural University and Vice Executive President of the School of Economics and Management. Seven experts from the fields of agriculture and rural development, agricultural policy research, ecological environment protection and development, and population health and health were invited to attend the conference and gave theme reports. More than 1000 people participated in the seminar online. The experts provided a good introduction and in-depth discussions on the impact of the COVID-19 on targeted poverty alleviation, labor employment, and population health and countermeasures.
Dr. Zhang pointed out that children's nutrition and health are an important part of poverty alleviation work in her theme report "pay attention to children's nutrition and health, and block the intergenerational transmission of poverty". Investment in early childhood development is an effective public policy with both fairness and efficiency. At present, the health status of 0-3-year-old infants in poor areas is worrying, and the hidden hunger problem is prominent. Anemia rate, vision health, parasite infection, and mental health problems of students in the compulsory education stage are severe as well. From the perspective of policy, we need to focus on children's healthy development when discussing poverty alleviation and Rural Revitalization under the background of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not only the future of children but also an important support for national development.
From the perspective of sustainable development, Dr. Zhang called for attention on the nurturing of infants, children, and adolescents in poverty alleviation activities. Security system measures should be provided to improve the awareness, knowledge, and ability of correct parenting of caregivers, to support the healthy growth of infants and children and adolescents in poor rural areas and therefore block the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Especially in the face of the "new normal" where the COVID-19 coexists with the need for social development, it is necessary to improve the nutrition and health problems of infants, children, and adolescents systematically from the aspects of system, concept, knowledge, resources, and action.
The meeting fostered heated discussions on the two important national strategies of "Rural Revitalization" and "poverty alleviation", which helps to promote the formulation of relevant policies and the implementation of work. The seminar also actively promoted and contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 2: Zero hunger, Goal 3: Good health and well-being, and Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth. The discussion on "the interaction between ecosystem and human livelihood activities and development" also provides new ideas and cooperation opportunities for the implementation of UNEP-IEMP's "Climate-Ecosystem-Livelihood (CEL)" flagship programme.
Dr. Linxiu Zhang attending online seminar on Rural Revitalization and Poverty Alleviation