Deng Guosheng: how will the Coronavirus Outbreak Affect Chinese Charities?

中文 English

This is CDB’s translation of an interview with Professor Deng Guosheng that was originally published by the WeChat account 社會創新家?(“Social Innovator”) on the 16th of February. You can find the original here.

 

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Editor’s Note

Under the pressure of the international economic downturn, China’s economy is also being strongly impacted by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. What effects may the charity sector suffer in the short and medium-to-long term? How should it respond to the risks brought about by the major outbreak of a public?health crisis and by the economic recession? “Social Innovator” (社會創新家) interviewed Professor Deng Guosheng, vice-president of the School of Public Policy and Management of Beijing’s Tsinghua University, regarding these issues.

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1. The next two years are going to be tough

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In terms of donations, what short and medium-to-long term effects do you think the economic downturn of the past two years and the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia (hereafter referred to as NCP) will have on the charity sector?

Deng Guosheng: According to my preliminary assessment, the negative effects caused by the NCP epidemic in terms of the overall amount of donations will not emerge in the current year. In fact, only about ten days after the outbreak of the NCP, donations from companies had already exceeded RMB 20 billion, while the public has also passionately participated with funds and material contributions. If we look at the experience gained during the previous “great calamities”, we can expect that, in comparison with the past year, the overall amount of funds collected will increase by a wide margin. Moreover, since this year also corresponds to the final stages of the “poverty eradication” program, the total amount of donations related to poverty alleviation is also expected to be high. Therefore, to sum up, the total amount of donations for the year 2020 is more likely to increase than it is to decrease.

However, donations for the “great calamities” of the past were often overdrawn. If we take the 2008 Wenzhou earthquake as an example, the amount of donations collected that same year reached RMB 107 billion, whereas in 2009 the total sharply dropped to RMB 54,2 billion, just over half of the previous year. In addition, since the “poverty eradication” program is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, next year’s donations for poverty alleviation are also expected to drop sharply, while the NCP epidemic’s great impact on the economy may particularly influence next year’s donations by companies. If all factors are taken into account, I am afraid that the negative effects on the charity sector will start to be clearly evident in 2021. For this reason, we can expect that in 2021 and 2022 it will become increasingly difficult to fundraise.

Obviously, this is an overall assessment. The NCP’s specific influence in terms of fundraising may differ greatly from one type of charity to another, and structural issues may also emerge.

 

Charities working in which sectors are most likely to suffer the greatest impact?

Deng Guosheng: The amount of donations collected by foundations actively participating in the fight against the NCP epidemic and in the “poverty eradication” initiatives, and from charity organizations providing first-line public services, will presumably increase. However, for what regards organizations working in other sectors, such as entities relying on the government’s purchase of services or on donations coming from big companies, their income from donations is most likely to show a considerable decrease, to the point that, from this year onwards, their future appears quite gloomy.

The most immediate problem is the one related to the salaries, which represents a very concrete challenge. Without any income, charities are not likely to be able to sustain their activities for more than one or two months, and in the long term some of them may encounter serious difficulties. I am even afraid that organizations engaged in certain fields may have no other option but to cut down their projects and lay off employees. Although some organizations are currently displaying good numbers in terms of fundraising, the part that’s growing is mainly the funds related to disaster relief activities, for which management expenses, if there are any, are very low. Hence, challenges related to the management expenses of the organizations will also present themselves.

 

Will the impact on different types of foundations be different, based on the sources of their donations?

Deng Guosheng: Both public and non-public foundations will be impacted in the future. In the medium-to-long term, public foundations will face greater challenges and find it harder to raise money; when it comes to many non-public foundations, the economic downturn will give companies a hard time, and giving is bound to shrink.

 

In the business sector, small and micro-enterprises are more vulnerable to crises. Does the resilience of charity organizations of different sizes also conform to this pattern?

Deng Guosheng: In the face of a crisis, the pattern in charity and business is basically the same, but there are also differences. The common point is that larger-scale foundations are also more resilient to pressure. For example, after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the amount of funds raised by state-backed foundations in 2009 was not in the low ranges at all. Large foundations like the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, the China Women’s Development Foundation and the China Youth Development Foundation did quite well in fundraising, but small and medium-sized foundations had a difficult time.

However, the charity sector is not a cut-throat competitive environment. Therefore, small and medium-sized foundations and front-line charities that provide services are not likely to quit or close down even if they are hard hit. Times will be tough, projects will be scaled down, jobs will be cut, but “fading away” will not be easy. Some organizations will become less dynamic, and the proportion of so-called “walking dead” foundations may increase within the sector.

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Beyond fundraising, what direct impact will the NCP epidemic itself have on the operations of charities?

Deng Guosheng: From the look of things, it will be impossible to operate and implement many projects in, at the very least, the first quarter of 2020, and they may need to be postponed. This is an optimistic estimate, but we also need to consider that there will be some time between the turning point and the end of the epidemic, which means prevention and control work will continue for some time. The work of social organizations is different from that of other sectors. It is a line of work which requires frequent contact with people. If it is not possible to carry out business trips, research and demand assessments smoothly, some programs and activities may have to be postponed for even the whole first half of the year.

 

Does this mean that even “money cannot make things happen”?

Deng Guosheng: This may be another kind of challenge because of the special nature of public health emergencies. Many organizations raised money in 2019, but they were not able to start projects in 2020. The impact of the NCP outbreak will be particularly great for poverty alleviation projects for which funds were raised in the second half of 2019, and which were originally intended to be implemented in 2020. The mission of alleviating poverty needs to be completed by the end of 2020, this is a clear order from above. Completing the task, and especially completing it on time, will be a huge challenge.

I expect some platform organizations that plan to conduct offline activities, such as meetings and forums, in the first half of 2020, to be affected and be forced to postpone. This could disrupt the plans and rhythms of many charities.

Summing things up, this NCP outbreak will bring great damage to both the upper and lower reaches of the charity sector, and will have a great impact on the development of the entire system.

 

2. Turning a crisis into an opportunity

 

How should the charity sector face this crisis?

Deng Guosheng: The crisis is unavoidable. The economic downturn is an inevitable global trend. The impact of such a large epidemic cannot be avoided under such circumstances. The problem that the entire sector needs to think about is how to turn this crisis into an opportunity, find?chances?to work amidst the impact of the outbreak, and at the same time reflect upon the problems and deficiencies of the sector itself.

 

What are the visible opportunities?

Deng Guosheng:?Based on the experience of various countries, after similar shocks, although corporate donations may be reduced, small individual donations would not be reduced much and may even increase steadily. In developed countries and regions, charitable donations come more from the general public, and corporate donations account for only a small part, so that charitable donations remain relatively stable. However, the situation in China is exactly the opposite. Therefore, non-profit organizations can seize the opportunity to adjust and change their fundraising structure, get rid of the excessive reliance on corporate donations, and go from large donations to relying on small individual donations to create a more stable source of funds for the organization. In fact, it can be seen from every major disaster that the Chinese public is deeply caring, and the potential for donations by the general public in China is far from being given its full play.

The economic downturn, coupled with the impact of the epidemic, will further intensify social problems and increase the society’s demands. At this time, the charity sector is required to provide more public services and give play to the role of charity as a “third re-distributor”. Non-profit organizations, especially foundations, must think about how to adapt to the new environment and how to change and evolve. For instance, how to use the internet to raise funds in the future and increase the proportion of small private donations, and also how to use the internet to solve social problems and improve efficiency. For example, using online psychological counselling, and providing remote technology and consulting services to reduce costs.

In addition, non-profit organizations should improve their organizational and learning capabilities, and qualified non-profit organizations can also take this opportunity to store up on professional talents. Clearly with the economic downturn there will be employment difficulties for college students, some companies may lay off staff, and a large number of professionals could find themselves out of employment. In the past, compared with enterprises, the competitiveness of non-profit organizations in attracting talent was weaker, but during the economic crisis, for non-profits there is an opportunity to attract talents.

Now is an important stage in community prevention and control. When participating in solving community problems, we also need to turn a crisis into an opportunity.

 

The tide of people returning to work has increased the pressure on community prevention and control. What role can social organizations play?

Deng Guosheng: Judging from the current situation, wherever prevention and control work is done well, the social governance system and governance capacity are relatively good. For example, look at places such as Zhejiang, Shanghai, Guangdong, Sichuan. The tide of people returning to work has sharply increased the pressure on first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. In the respect of community prevention and control, the professional advantages of social organizations should be used to stimulate social vitality. For example, in areas of severe epidemic, professional social workers are used to conduct individual case counseling and psychological counseling.

The strength of the communities (社區) in rural areas and some areas in the central and western regions is weak, and the strength of neighborhood committees and village committees is not enough, hence the role of social organizations needs to be exerted as much as possible. The work of community prevention and control carries great responsibilities and pressures. The community committees and village committees often have insufficient staffing and lack professionalism, and sometimes have to adopt methods that are simple and crude. This may cause a lot of contradictions and conflicts, and even pose negative influences on the return to work and economic recovery. Professional volunteer organizations and social work organizations can serve as important supplements to the forces of community prevention and control.

 

What are the requirements for social organizations to participate in community prevention and control?

Deng Guosheng: In recent years, the charity sector has been advocating for the participation of professional volunteers and social workers. In fact, this has already provided certain capabilities, and it has also formed a platform hub in the sector, which is a huge resource that can be activated. It is imperative to establish a cooperative mechanism between government and society, provide institutionalized channels for social forces to participate in the prevention and control of the epidemic, and integrate social forces into the entire prevention and control system.

In general, this epidemic situation is a big test for both the ability of social organizations and the ability of social governance.

 

3. Mechanisms need to be established for effective government-society cooperation

 

During the novel coronavirus epidemic, what shortcomings do you think have been revealed within the philanthropic sector?

Deng Guosheng: Firstly, the networks for cooperation among social organizations are less than perfect; secondly, there’s not enough expertise in responding to epidemics.

Compared with the SARS epidemic in 2003, the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the Yushu earthquake in 2010, and the Ya’an earthquake in 2013, we can see that the ability of social actors, including public interest organizations, has improved significantly. But you’ll also see that the role played by these organizations is still relatively weak.

For example, after this epidemic began, a salient problem was that systematic and efficient cooperative networks were not formed between foundations and frontline social organizations. You’ll see that internet companies, a lot of informal groups like fan clubs and volunteer groups and some alumni associations have played a really big role, purchasing medical resources in short supply from all over the world. They have played an enormous role in overcoming the epidemic. And yet with some formal charity organizations it’s another story, they haven’t really given play to what they can do, or at least their role hasn’t been quite what we would have hoped. Although this is connected to the epidemic being a sudden public health emergency, the capacity of charities in relation to this kind of crisis is limited. But as well as that, there’s the fact that there is a lack of integrative networks for cooperation and collaborative mechanisms between all the different types of social organizations.

So I feel that this crisis is not just a huge test for the national governance system and capacity, but it’s also a big test of the governance abilities and skills of social organizations.

 

After going through a number of natural disasters,?weren’t the civic emergency response networks already basically put into place after?the 2013 Ya’an earthquake? For example, the China NGO Center for Disaster Relief Reduction. ?

Deng Guosheng: The networks established up until now have mostly been for responding to natural disasters. Aside from a small number of?charities that participated in the public health emergency in 2003, the vast majority of these organizations lack experience in responding to a public health emergency.

This time, after the epidemic began I spoke with some organizations that operate as platforms and told them that the sector has to take action and get involved. They were all very cautious, saying they would need to think and look into it. This tells us that after all these years of development, when it comes to responding to different types of emergencies, our social organizations are lacking a specialist capacity, and their responsiveness, speed and effectiveness in responding is wanting. This is something that the whole sector needs to reflect upon and get better at going forward.

 

On January 26, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued Public Notice No. 476 designating five Hubei and Wuhan organizations to receive donations and act as the hub for emergency response materials. Did this cause hub platforms in the sector to lose their own space for action?

Deng Guosheng: Yes, this way of going about things undoubtedly had an objective impact on the role and involvement of social organizations.

When the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake happened, a small number of organizations was designated to engage in public fundraising and use donated cash and materials; in the Yushu earthquake in 2010, this was also the approach adopted to begin with. But having designated organizations?centralizing and using the funds and materials was revealed to carry problems, to the point that the related policy documents during the Yushu earthquake were difficult to implement.

By the time the Ya’an earthquake happened, the government’s thinking had changed significantly and they no longer designated a small number of organizations to monopolize fundraising or to deploy donated cash and materials in such a concentrated way. There were institutional channels in place for social organizations’ involvement in the emergency response. At that time Sichuan formed networks for cooperation among social organizations, the Sichuan provincial government specifically put in place a provincial coordinating team for mass organizations (群團組織) to participate in social governance, and Ya’an itself also set up a service center for social organizations and volunteers taking part in the emergency response. You could say that in the history of emergency responses in China, this was an important institutional breakthrough.

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Why was this achievement not able to play a role in the current response to the epidemic?

Deng Guosheng: The formulation of policy on charity donations during this epidemic is related to the particular local situation in Hubei Province. Before the Ministry of Civil Affairs released this Public Notice, the local government had already issued a policy, designating a small number of organizations to collect donations in cash and kind. One reason for this is that the central region of China is much weaker when it comes to social organization development. Social organizations are not well developed there and the officials aren’t clued up enough on social organizations’ participation in social governance.

During the emergency response efforts Hubei province has been going about things in a really haphazard way, which shows that there are many problems in terms of local social governance systems and capacity. The lessons paid for in blood in past disasters like the Wenchuan earthquake, and the experiences that they have left us, have not been learnt or passed on. In all of this there is a salient problem in that we lack mechanisms for the government to work with society. This means that there’s little choice but to designate a small number of organizations to concentrate donations and manage them in that way. But the result is that these designated organizations lack sufficient capacity and this then creates a kind of dam of donated cash and materials.

Faced with enormous pressure from society in the shape of public opinion, on January 30, the Wuhan Red Cross issued Public Notice No.6 adjusting the procedures for earmarked donations. With this, donated materials from citizen actors behaving autonomously could be directly linked up to the recipients. But this direct linking again gave rise to the chaotic situation seen previously. On February 7, the Wuhan Bureau for Market Oversight and Regulation issued another notice stating that steps would be taken to address cases where there was a suspicion that regulations had been broken by circumventing the Red Cross to donate materials. Trying to bring everything under unified control ends up with efforts being strangled; when efforts are strangled you free things up, but freeing things up then leads to chaos, and chaos leads to attempting to control everything again. In all of this the fundamental problem is that social forces lack institutionalised channels; there’s a lack of mechanisms for the government to coordinate with society during emergencies.

鄧國勝:新冠肺炎之后,哪些公益機構的日子難過?

?肖泊?社會創新家
采訪?▏肖泊
編者按
全球經濟下行壓力下,新冠肺炎疫情又給中國經濟帶來巨大沖擊。中國公益行業會在短期和中長期受到哪些影響?在重大突發公共衛生事件與經濟下行風險中,公益行業該如何應對?圍繞這些問題,《社會創新家》采訪了清華大學公共管理學院副院長鄧國勝。
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明、后年日子更難過

《社會創新家》:近兩年經濟下行,今年開年又遭遇新型冠狀病毒感染肺炎(簡稱NCP)疫情沖擊,從捐贈收入的角度看,你判斷會給公益行業造成怎樣的短期或中長期影響?鄧國勝:我個人初步判斷,捐款總量上,疫情沖擊來帶的消極影響不會在今年顯現。NCP疫情短短十幾天,企業捐款就突破200億,公眾捐款捐物的熱情也非常高。從以往“大災”年份的經驗看,捐款總量一般都會較上一年大幅增長;同時,今年還是脫貧攻堅收官之年,扶貧捐贈的數量估計也不會低。所以總的來看,2020年的捐款總量上可能會不降反升。但是,“大災”年份的捐款往往有“透支”特征。以2008年汶川地震為例,當年捐贈總量1070億元,到2009年,急劇下降到542億元,幾乎打了個對折。而且脫貧攻堅任務今年完成,明年社會的扶貧捐款也可能大幅下降,尤其此次NCP疫情對經濟造成的巨大沖擊也會影響到明年的企業捐贈,綜合這些因素判斷,對公益行業帶來的消極影響恐怕會從2021年開始凸顯,所以明年、后年籌款可能會更難。當然,這只是總體的判斷,具體對不同類型公益機構的籌款影響可能差異會很大,即存在結構性問題。《社會創新家》:從領域劃分來看,哪些公益組織受到的沖擊更大?

鄧國勝:參與抗擊NCP疫情以及參與脫貧攻堅的基金會和一線提供公共服務的公益組織在捐贈收入上可能會有增長;但是其它一些領域的機構,例如,過去主要依靠政府購買服務、依靠大企業捐款的公益機構,未來捐贈收入上可能會大幅收縮,甚至從今年開始,日子就會比較難過了。

眼下最直接的是發工資的問題,這是很現實的挑戰。沒有收入,一兩個月還能撐,時間長了,一些公益機構就會比較難熬。有些領域的機構恐怕不得不收縮項目,甚至要裁員了。即便是一些募款數字暫時比較漂亮的機構,因為增長部分多是與救災有關的款物,管理費低,甚至沒有管理費,所以在機構的管理支出上同樣要面對挑戰。

《社會創新家》:從捐贈來源上看,不同類型的基金會受到的沖擊是否也會有所不同?

鄧國勝:無論是公募基金會,還是非公募基金會,未來都會受到沖擊。中長期來看,公募基金會面臨的挑戰更大,籌款更難了;對于很多非公募基金會來說,經濟下行,企業日子不好過,捐贈肯定也會壓縮。

《社會創新家》:在商業領域,小微企業更難挨過危機,不同規模、體量的公益機構的抗擊打能力是否也符合這一規律?

鄧國勝:在面臨危機時,公益領域與商業領域的規律基本相同,但也有差異。相同的是,規模大的基金會抗壓能力更強一些。比如2008年汶川地震過后,2009年“國字號”的基金會當年籌款量也不低,中國扶貧基金會、中國婦女發展基金會、中國青少年發展基金會等,這些大型基金會在籌款上表現都還不錯,但中小型基金會的日子就比較難過。

不同的是,小微企業扛不過去就直接“死”掉了,而公益行業不是你死我活的競爭環境,所以中小型基金會和一線提供服務的公益組織即便遭到較大沖擊,一般不至于退出、關門。日子會難過,壓縮項目規模、裁員,但“死”也不容易。有些機構的活力會降低,行業里所謂的“僵尸”型公益組織的比例可能會增加。

《社會創新家》:除了募款層面,此次NCP疫情本身還會給公益機構的運作帶來哪些直接影響?

鄧國勝:眼下來看,至少2020年第一個季度很多項目無法運作和執行,需要延期。這應該算是比較樂觀的估計,因為還要考慮疫情從出現拐點到結束也有周期,防控工作還是要持續一段時間。社會組織的工作跟其他行業又不太一樣,主要是做人的工作,需要高頻高密度地跟人打交道,出差、調研、需求評估等等都無法順利進行,甚至上半年,部分項目、活動可能無法開展和落地了。

《社會創新家》:這意味著即便有錢可能也會很難?

鄧國勝:這可能是另一種挑戰,因為公共衛生事件的特殊性,很多機構2019年籌到的錢,但2020年沒法開展項目。特別是一些扶貧項目, 2019年下半年籌的款,本來計劃是準備2020年實施項目的,NCP疫情對它們的影響會比較大。而脫貧攻堅要到2020年的年底收官,這是“死命令”,要完成任務,特別是如期達成扶貧項目的目標,會有較大的挑戰。

還有一些平臺型機構需要做很多線下活動,比如一些基金會計劃2020年上半年開的會議、論壇,估計會受到一些影響,不得不延期。這樣一來,會打亂很多公益組織的計劃和節奏。

綜合各種情況來看,此次NCP疫情對公益行業上下游鏈條會帶來較大的破壞,對整個公益行業的發展都會產生很大影響。

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要把危機轉化為機會
《社會創新家》:公益行業要如何面對這場危機?鄧國勝:危機已經不可避免,經濟下滑是全球趨勢,也躲不掉;如此大的疫情,沖擊同樣無法逃避。如何把危機轉化為機會,在疫情沖擊中尋找機會,同時反思自身和行業發展中存在的問題和不足,這是整個公益行業需要思考的問題。《社會創新家》:有哪些可見的機會?鄧國勝:從各國的經驗看,在類似沖擊過后,雖然企業捐贈可能會減少,但個人小額捐款受到的影響非常小,甚至還可能會穩中有升。而在發達國家和地區,慈善捐贈更多來源于社會大眾,企業捐款只占很小的一部分,所以慈善捐贈可以保持相對穩定,中國的情況剛好是反過來。所以,公益組織可以抓住機會去調整、改變自己的籌款結構,擺脫對企業捐款的過渡依賴,從“傍大款”走向依靠個人小額捐款,為機構創造一個更穩定的資金來源。其實,從每次大的災害都可以看出,中國的公眾是有愛心的,中國普通公眾的捐贈潛力還遠遠沒有激發出來。經濟下行,再加上疫情沖擊,未來社會問題會進一步加劇,社會需求會進一步上升,這個時候,更需要公益行業提供更多公共服務,發揮慈善的第三次分配作用。公益組織、特別是基金會要思考如何去適應新的環境,如何變革。比如,未來如何借助互聯網技術去籌集資金,提升個人小額捐款的占比;如何利用互聯網技術解決社會問題,提高效率。例如,通過互聯網技術開展遠程心理輔導,提供遠程技術與咨詢服務,降低成本等。

此外,公益組織要提升自己的組織能力和學習能力,甚至有條件的公益組織還可以借此機會儲備一些專業人才。很顯然,經濟不景氣,大學生就業困難,一些企業可能裁員,會有大量專業人才被擠出。以往,相較于企業,公益機構的人才競爭力較弱,而在經濟危機時,對公益機構而言,反而是吸納人才的機會。

眼下是社區防控的重要階段,參與應對社區問題時,同樣也需要轉化危機為機會。

《社會創新家》:返工潮讓社區防控的壓力進一步加大,社會組織可以發揮哪些作用?

鄧國勝:從目前情況看,但凡防控工作做得好的,都是社會治理體系和治理能力相對好的地方。例如,浙江、上海、廣東、四川等地。返工潮讓一線城市北、上、廣、深的壓力陡增,在社區防控層面,理應發揮社會組織的專業優勢激發社會活力。比如說在疫情嚴重的地區,利用專業社工開展個案輔導、心理咨詢等。農村以及中西部一些地區社區力量很薄弱,光靠居委會、村委會的力量也是不夠的,也需要盡可能發揮社會組織的作用。社區防控工作責任大、壓力大,社區居委會、村委會的人手不夠、專業性不夠,有時不得不采用簡單粗暴的做法,這可能又會產生大量矛盾沖突,甚至對復工、對經濟恢復產生影響。而專業志愿者組織、社工機構可以作為社區防控力量的重要補充。

《社會創新家》:社會組織參與社區防控需要哪些條件?

鄧國勝:近些年,公益行業一直在倡導專業志愿者、專業社工,其實已經具備了一定的能力,而且也形成了行業內的平臺樞紐機構,是一個可以激發的巨大資源。當務之急是建立政社協同機制,為社會力量參與疫情防控提供制度化的參與渠道,將社會力量納入到整個防控體系之中。

總的來說,疫情無論是對社會組織的能力,還是對社會治理的能力都是一個大考。

3
需要建立有效的政社協同機制
《社會創新家》:此次NCP疫情中,你認為公益行業暴露出哪些不足?鄧國勝:第一,社會組織之間的協作網絡不健全;第二,缺少足夠的專業性來應對疫情。相比于2003年非典疫情、2008年汶川地震、2010年玉樹地震、2013年雅安地震,我們還是可以看出,社會力量,包括公益組織的能力還是有很大提升。但我們還是會發現,公益組織發揮的作用相對還是很弱。比如此次疫情發生后,一個突出的問題是,基金會以及一線社會組織之間沒能形成系統的高效的協作網絡和機制。你會發現互聯網企業,以及很多非正式的比如明星粉絲團、非正式的志愿者團體,還有一些校友會,他們發揮了很大作用,從全球采購緊缺的醫療物質,為戰勝疫情發揮了巨大作用但是,一些正式的公益組織,反而作用沒有發揮出來,至少不如期望的作用大。雖然這與本次疫情屬于突發公共衛生事件有關,公益組織在應對這類事件方面,能力有限。另外,就是各式各樣的社會組織之間缺少整體的協同網絡和協同機制。所以,我覺得此次危機不僅是對國家治理體制與治理能力的一個大考,對社會組織的治理水平、能力也是個大考。

《社會創新家》:經過幾次自然災害,2013年雅安地震后,民間的救援網絡不是已經基本形成了嗎?比如基金會救災協調會。

鄧國勝:之前建立的網絡主要是應對自然災害,除了2003年少數公益組織參與過公共衛生突發事件外,絕大多數公益組織缺少應對突發公共衛生事件的經驗。

這次疫情發生后,我也給一些平臺型機構說,行業要積極行動,積極參與。他們對此都非常慎重,說要考慮研究一下。這也反映出經過多年發展,我們社會組織在應對不同類型突發事件的專業能力、對突發事件的回應性、速度、效率還是不夠,這也是未來行業需要反思和提升的地方。

《社會創新家》:1月26日,民政部發出476號公告,指定湖北、武漢五家機構接受捐助,充當救災款物的樞紐,這是否讓行業樞紐平臺失去了發揮空間?

鄧國勝:是的,這種做法,無疑給社會組織的參與和作用發揮帶來了客觀影響。

2008年汶川地震,當時也是指定少數機構募款和集中使用捐贈款物;到2010年玉樹地震時期,最開始也是采用同樣的策略。但由指定機構集中使用款物暴露了許多問題,以至于玉樹地震時的相關文件難以執行下去。

到了雅安地震時期,政府的思路有了很大調整,不再指定少數機構壟斷籌款,集中使用捐贈款物,社會組織參與救災,有了制度化的渠道。當時,四川形成了多個社會組織合作網絡,四川省政府還專門成立省群團組織參與社會治理協調小組,雅安市也專門成立了抗震救災社會組織和志愿者服務中心。可以說,這在中國的救災史上,是一次重要的制度創新實踐。

《社會創新家》:為什么這一成果沒有在此次疫情應對中產生作用?

鄧國勝:這次NCP疫情相關的慈善捐贈政策的形成與湖北的地方特征有關。民政部的這份公告發出前,當地政府已經出臺了政策,指定少數幾家機構接受捐款款物。其中一個原因是,中國的中部地區是社會組織發展的一塊洼地,社會組織不發達,官員對社會組織參與社會治理的認知也不夠。

這次救援工作,湖北省搞得如此混亂,說明當地社會治理體系、社會治理的能力存在很多問題。以往汶川地震等大災大難血的教訓換來的經驗沒有被吸收和傳承下來。其中一個突出問題就是缺乏政社協同機制,所以不得不指定少數機構集中捐贈款物的管理。但結果這些被指定機構的能力不足,又造成了捐贈款物的堰塞湖。面對社會輿論的巨大壓力,武漢市紅十字會在1月30日發出6號公告,調整了定向捐贈流程,這樣一來,民間自主捐贈的物資可以直接對接受贈方。然而,直接對接又重新出現了之前的混亂局面。2月7日,武漢市市場監督管理局又發出消息稱,對繞過紅十字會捐贈物資,涉嫌違法的將被處理。一統就死,死了再放,放了又亂,亂了再統。總的來說,這次社會力量參與突發公共衛生事件,暴露出了很多問題。其中,最根本的還是社會力量缺乏制度化的參與渠道,缺乏突發事件中的政社協同機制。

Translated by Andrea Branco, Laura Feng, Holly Snape and Betty Wang

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