Our previous work on China
IIED has worked extensively in China over the past decade as part of its strategy. This page lists some of the institute's older work.
IIED has pursued a China objective in its strategy over the past decade. The institute has made some useful progress, including:
- Increasing quality partnerships with Chinese organisations and researchers
- Increasing communication and influence with Chinese audiences through dissemination of research and policy-influencing products, such as films, Chinese translations of key IIED publications, and participation in meetings and policy discussions in China
- Fostering collaboration and joint action for sustainable Chinese investment and trade in Africa through building partnerships among Chinese businesses, civil society and research institutions and African stakeholders in both the agriculture and forestry sectors, and
- Deepening knowledge and collaboration on China-Africa aid.
This work provides a strong basis and a unique position for IIED to go further with partners and find tangible points of engagement on sustainability issues linked to the 'China in the world' programme of work, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Africa in particular.
Work we have carried out over the past decade includes:
- China-Africa agriculture engagement: mapping Chinese agricultural aid, trade and investments in Africa, developing related case studies, supporting surveys of Chinese agriculture technology exchange with Africa, and building relationships with key stakeholders in China and Africa. Read 'China and Brazil in African Agriculture' and 'Chinese agriculture goes global: food security for all?'
- China-Africa Forest Governance project: improving evidence, capacity and joint action for sustainable Chinese investment in Africa's forests. Learn more about the project and read related publications.
- Africa-China Informal Resources Trade research project: examining the social and environmental implications of small-scale investments and trade by the Chinese (and others) in Africa's informal economy – specifically in agriculture, mining and timber trade in Eastern and Southeast Africa. Read a backgrounder, a summary of findings (PDF), or watch a short video.
- Research on Bilateral Investment Treaties in the China-Africa relationship: exploring how bilateral investment treaties (BITs) feature in China’s economic diplomacy with Africa, and whether BITs actually influence investors’ decision-making. Read 'China-Africa investment treaties: do they work?'.
- China and Brazil in African Agriculture: examining how China and Brazil are shaping African agricultural development. Read 'Chinese migrants in Africa: facts and fictions from the agri-food sector in Ethiopia and Ghana' and 'Jumping into the sea: 'Chinese migrants’ engagement in non-traditional agricultural commodities in Ethiopia'.
- Chinese perspectives on corporate social responsibility and sustainability standards in Africa and Latin America: based on 58 interviews with companies, this discussion paper on Chinese businesses in Africa explores the complex governance factors, including the relative weakness of Chinese policies, shaping the social and environmental practices of Chinese companies in Africa. The report 'Sustainability standards in China-Latin America trade and investment' examines Chinese trade and investment in mining, agriculture and forestry in Chile, Brazil and Peru.
- Research on Chinese engagements and land-based contracts in Africa: understanding the Chinese policy narratives and inflated media reports of Chinese activities on the continent. Read related publications: 'Chinese agriculture goes global: food security for all?' and 'Chinese Agriculture Development Cooperation in Africa: narratives and politics'.
- Sustainable agriculture in China: assessing multiple approaches to sustainable agriculture in China through case studies, stakeholder meetings and policy advocacy. Read related publications: 'Sustainable agriculture in China', 'Multiple pathways: case studies of sustainable agriculture in China' and 'Fertile futures: nurturing the shoots of China’s sustainable agriculture'.
- Chinese Smallholder Innovation for Resilient Agriculture project: strengthening biocultural systems for food security in the face of climate change in China through research and policy advocacy within China, as well as sharing the methods and insights across three other countries where the project was implemented. The Biocultural Heritage website has more project information and publications.
- New perspectives on climate-resilient drylands development: reframing pejorative narratives around drylands in China, India and Kenya to ones of potential and resilience in the face of climatic change. Read further project information and related publications on 'Valuing variability – new perspectives on climate resilient drylands development' and 'Making the most of variability: innovative rangeland management in China'.
- China's path to a green economy: an introductory guide to China's current transition towards a green economy. The report traces the evolution of China's green economy thinking over the last 40 years, maps key policies that shape China's green economy prospects today, identifies relevant sectoral policies and players, and examines stakeholder groups, unique traits and areas for further exploration.
- Biogas at the households scale: examining the extent to which biogas can be a viable energy strategy for rural households in China.
- BRICS urban transition: sharing key lessons for the future of urbanisation in BRICS countries, including China. These countries provide some inspiring examples of how to seize the opportunities that urbanization can provide. However, several of the BRICS bear heavy burdens from past failures to accommodate urban population growth equitably and efficiently. Read 'Urban growth in emerging economies: lessons from the BRICS'.