Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I am Huang Haoming, the Acting Dean of China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI). Firstly, I would like to express my great appreciation for China NGO Network for International Exchange inviting me to attend this online seminar. Today, I’m going to briefly share thoughts and observations on Chinese NGOs’ participation in global responses to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).
Since the beginning of this year, COVID-19 has become the major concern for people around the world, and its influence is still emerging. As we all know, China has been combating the pandemic nationwide for several months, and now has achieved a staged progress. While the outbreak is gradually being controlled and the economy starts to recover in China, the main battlefield of responses to COVID-19 has been transferred to Europe, North America, and even the whole world.
At this stage, we find that a group of Chinese NGOs have started overseas responses to the pandemic. Some of them try to seize this opportunity to go global. As a result, my sharing will focus on the current progress, challenges, and suggestions of Chinese NGOs’ participation in global response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Let's first look at the current situation. So far, Chinese NGOs’ global responses to COVID-19 have covered 6 continents including at least 150 countries. Their responses to the outbreak have three characteristics as follows.
Firstly, the amount of donations shows an increasing trend, and the donations are guided by demand. According to the incomplete statistics of the China Charity Federation, as of May 4th, cash donations to global responses by Chinese companies, NGOs and individual citizens had exceeded 131 million USD. In addition, there are a large number of material donations including masks, protective clothing and diagnostic kits, to meet the global shortage of anti-epidemic medical supplies.
Secondly, the content of their global responses highlights Chinese Characteristics and spreads Chinese experience. For example, the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation established the Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19 program to help tackle the global outbreak of COVID-19. In this program, they support writing and publishing several manuals online in different languages, including Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment, COVID-19 Outbreak Hospital Response Strategy, and Makeshift Hospital for COVID-19. These manuals are all based on Chinese experience.
Thirdly, the global responses of Chinese NGOs are mainly carried out through cross-border collective actions. Chinese NGOs’ global responses have taken the form of cooperation between NGOs at home and abroad, cooperation among NGOs, enterprises and government agencies. We also observe that volunteer groups, performing stars and their fans, overseas Chinese, and the general public, all participate in the combat. Among them, NGOs play an important role in organizing coordination and linking resources. Our Institute CGPI also work with the China Development Research Foundation and the TOChina Hub of the University of Turin in Italy to donate medical materials under the cooperation platform named China-Italy Philanthropy Forum.
The next part I’d like to talk about are the five challenges faced by those Chinese NGOs who participate in the global responses to COVID-19.
Firstly, compared with other countries, Chinese NGOs lack of smooth international channels and cooperative network to facilitate their global actions. Unlike China, the United States has mature experience in internationalization, focusing on expanding opportunities for international cooperation. Our neighbor, Japan attaches great importance to opening up the international channels of United Nations Volunteers (UNV). Brazil, as a developing country, benefits from the United Nations South-South cooperation.
Secondly, Chinese NGOs also lack of platforms for independent overseas operations, including the independent overseas offices. Due to insufficient policy support, only a few Chinese NGOs establish the independent offices abroad, such as China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Amity Foundation and so on.
Thirdly, Chinese NGOs lack of the ability to “go global”. This is mainly because many NGOs are in small scale, have relatively scattered business, and lack of professionalism. During this outbreak, many Chinese NGOs have no experience in response to overseas public health emergencies, and their operation mechanism and governance strategy are not well prepared for global responses.
Fourthly, Chinese NGOs lack of professional and high-quality compound talents, including people having overseas living and working experience, talents working in international organizations, talents with high-level negotiating skills, and people who well understand cultures and situations among various regions and countries.
At last, there is lack of a good external environment for Chinese NGOs to go global. The biggest problem is that it hasn’t national laws and policy to support. For example, there are still policy gaps in foreign material donations, taxation, and foreign exchange management. In addition, the approval requirements of business supervisors will also affect the speed of NGOs' response to public health emergencies.
With regard to the future, I would like to make five suggestions on Chinese NGOs’ global responses:
Firstly, I think we need to strengthen the cooperation with the government, especially the promotion of changes in the legislative and policy environment. Chinese government should consider NGOs’ participation in the legislative work of country’s non-governmental foreign aid, in order to establish a basis for Chinses NGOs to implement their internationalization strategy.
Secondly, Chinese NGOs need to make good use of new technologies and cooperation networks. This will help increase the speed of Chinese NGOs’ going abroad and reduce their current working costs. It will also improve Chinese NGOs’ efficiency and transparency when they make international donations.
Thirdly, Chinese NGOs could actively establish partnership and long-term cooperation with global organizations, such as influential NGOs, transnational enterprises, think tanks at home and abroad.
Fourthly, I suggest Chinese NGOs to actively establish alliance organizations to take joint action. This is especially necessary for those NGOs that lack of practical experience. In order to maximize their influence, they need to build coalitions with funding agencies, implementing agencies, epidemic surveillance agencies and platform agencies, so as to form a multi-dimensional cooperation mechanism for global responses.
Fifthly, I recommend Chinse NGOs to strengthen contacts with international partners, actively integrate into international organizations and build bilateral cooperation. Chinese NGOs lack of networks and channels for global cooperation, and it is difficult to establish overseas offices and networks like those NGOs in developed-country’s in a short period of time. As a result, looking for reliable and trusted overseas partners is a better solution for Chines NGOs to guarantee the implementation of overseas cooperation projects.
Finally, I would like to say that, when Chinese NGOs go abroad to participate in the global responses to COVID-19, they need to set their strategic orientation, seek partners and take prudent measures, at the same time, NGOs themselves also need to strengthen professional capacity, and cultivate their own compound international talents. Only in this way can Chinese NGOs become a true member of global governance and make contributions to world peace and development. Our vision is “To isolate the virus, not friendship”. It is the time for Chinse NGOs to make transformation. Thanks for your listening.