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China's initiative to drive UN agenda forward

By Yi Xin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-21 09:17

A view of Beijing's CBD area on Aug 19, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

Eight years ago in September 2015, when world leaders unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, they set out in the sustainable development goals and targets "a supremely ambitious and transformational vision."

Eight years later, we are halfway through the timetable for achieving the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs and getting ready for another UN summit for a midterm review of the 2030 Agenda next September.

Despite a few encouraging progress, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is facing unprecedented challenges.

"Just 12 percent of the SDG targets are on track. Progress on 50 percent is weak and insufficient. Worst of all, we have stalled or gone into reverse on more than 30 percent of the SDGs," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned recently.

This is truly a critical moment for everyone. More action is needed to "rescue the SDGs and get them back on track."

On this front, China, as the largest developing country and a responsible major country, has taken the lead and provided its solution.

The Chinese proposal

President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative in September 2021, in a bid to galvanize international commitment to development, help revive global efforts to achieve the SDGs, pool efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and promote stronger, greener and healthier global development.

The fundamental basis and primary goal of the GDI is the 2030 Agenda. Taking into account the most pressing needs of global development, it identifies eight key areas of cooperation, namely poverty reduction, food security, pandemic response and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy, and connectivity in the digital era. They cover all of the 17 SDGs without replacing or repackaging them.

With that, the GDI can serve as a booster for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of sustainable development in the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

No wonder almost two years since it was unveiled, the GDI has received warm response from the international community. So far, more than 100 countries and international organizations have supported the GDI, and nearly 70 countries, mostly developing ones, have joined the UN-based Group of Friends of the GDI.

Guterres has also applauded the GDI as "a valued contribution to addressing common challenges and accelerating the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive future."

From vision to action

Over the past two years, China has successively released a list of deliverables with 32 practical measures as its initial steps to implement the Initiative at the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development in June 2022, and the first batch of 50 practical cooperation projects for an open-ended project pool at the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends in September 2022.

With joint efforts of China and its partners, cooperation under the GDI framework is well underway, with many early harvests achieved. A number of cooperation platforms and mechanisms, such as the Global Development Promotion Center and the International NGOs Network for Poverty Reduction Cooperation, have been up and running. Over 1,000 capacity building programs have been provided to Group of Friends countries.

Pooling resources

To make more resources available for global development cooperation, China has put in place the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund with a total input of $4 billion, and pledged to increase input to the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund. With the support of the funds, UN development agencies have undertaken a series of practical projects, benefiting over 60 developing countries in Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

China has also launched Phase III of the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund with a total amount of $50 million, contributing new resources for international cooperation on poverty reduction and food security.

The clock is ticking for the SDGs. It's time to refocus on development. On China's part, it has the GDI as its major proposal for global development especially for the second half of the 2030 Agenda. The GDI welcomes the participation of international partners to jointly promote sustainable development. With many projects already in the pipeline and concerted efforts of global partners who share the same goal to promote sustainable development, it will make more contributions to expediting the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs for people, the planet and prosperity.

Yi Xin is a Beijing-based observer. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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