Rice Terraces
Sustainable Agriculture

FAW Dialogue
Facilitating Dialogue

Al Gore @ COP15
Climate Change
Dale Wen at COP15
Dale Wen on COP15 panel

Our Policy Areas


China’s rapid transformation into a global power requires a continuously evolving policy analysis. The “China Model’s” continuous change means it is many things to many people and should not be viewed in overly simplistic ways. China’s experience offers key insights for ongoing discussions on policy pathways for sustainable development.

Environment & Development

Preservation of the environment is our collective responsibility. As with climate change questions, national borders are poor markers for undertaking comprehensive approaches to the most pressing questions. China’s rapid growth and global integration is evident in environmental impacts both domestically and around the world. But only global understanding and cooperation will bring the changes in policy needed at all scales.

Climate Change

Continued reliance on fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and forest destruction contribute to increasing climate irregularity by releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Scientists predict that unless humans significantly reduce emissions, sea levels will rise, and weather patterns will shift dramatically and unpredictably.

China's emergence as a global polluter and as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases concerns many, particularly in the West. But a careful analysis reveals the multi-faceted reality of this issue. Western investment encouraged China’s rapid industrialization and consumers worldwide have benefited directly from China’s increases in energy and resource use.

Climate change policy requires new analytical approaches.

International Aid

Long-term policy efforts to achieve greater accountability of all aid agencies, as well as integration of the voices of effected communities, is crucial to the evolution of a more just and sustainable aid regime. Aid to China has played a key role in China’s transformation, while China’s growing aid to South nations necessitates careful analysis concerning impacts and implications for development processes both North and South.

Rural Development

What happens to the world’s rural majority is an essential and too often overlooked component of our urban-biased analyses. China’s experience with rural development over the past 60 years provides a wealth of information on a wide range of policy approaches in practice. Rural-Urban dichotomies no longer neatly apply, and circular migration and other complex linkages point to the need for integrated policy analysis.


Forests have multi-faceted and often competing roles in our world, from a renewable resource for livelihood provision of forest dwellers, to commodities for daily use of urbanites, to global carbon sinks. Forest policy, like many policy areas, is a contested terrain of these varied interests and needs. New visions and policies are required to support participatory community based approaches that offer some of the greatest potential for maintaining forest biodiversity and resilience into the future.

Global Security

Rising vulnerability and risk of the world’s majority impacts global security and is a key policy issue. How we respond is in part defined by the ethical assumptions we make concerning whose security matters and why. Community livelihood security is increasingly understood as equally if not more important for long-term global security than the traditional focus upon military and geopolitical concerns. This knowledge is reflected in the adoption of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. And yet reducing the vulnerability of the world’s majority still rarely is integrated into our sectorally-divided policy discussions. This therefore requires new thinking and action in the policy arena if we are to avoid a descent into increasingly authoritarian and unjust responses to global crises.

Food & Agriculture


The rising urgency of the global food crisis highlights the fact that there are no simple answers or solutions to solve the problem of food production and distribution on a global scale. As the impacts of rising prices for basic food items are felt around the world by rural and urban poor, the middle-class, and governments, the drive to find answers becomes ever more pressing. Our food production, distribution, and consumption systems need renewed attention on a systemic basis, and forward looking policy initiatives are called for that can help us transform the current unsustainable systems now in place.


Agriculture is the primary historical transformer of our global environment. The central role of agriculture in the lives of the majority of the world’s peoples cannot be underestimated. Changing our current energy-intensive agricultural systems to more sustainable forms that draw upon old and new understandings of agroecology, among other things, offers great hope to help resolve interrelated crises of food security, climate change, and environmental degradation.

International Food and Agriculture Workshop Panel
International Sustainable Food & Ag. Panel
Rural Farmer