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China-led vision gets major boost

By ZHANG YUNBI in Beijing and MINLU ZHANG at United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-05-11 08:56

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a key online meeting via the United Nations to advance the Global Development Initiative on May 9, 2022. [Photo/fmprc.gov.cn]

FM, UN chief address virtual meeting on Global Development Initiative

Beijing unveiled new measures at a key online meeting via the United Nations to advance the Global Development Initiative, a China-led vision supported by over 100 countries to revitalize growth despite current economic headwinds.

China will enhance consultation with other emerging markets and developing countries and "hold a high-level meeting on global development at a proper time" to discuss ways to promote the initiative, said State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Beijing will build on the consensus to "establish a pool of GDI projects to be participated in by all parties and seek an early harvest," Wang said in addressing the high-level virtual meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative on Monday.

The meeting on Monday was also addressed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and a number of leaders and ministers from the group's members.

"Wang's announcement has unveiled the latest inspiring parts of the solution and the road map for translating the initiative into reality," said Chen Xulong, a professor of multilateral diplomacy and UN reform studies at the University of International Business and Economics' School of International Relations.

"The detailed fresh measures show that the Global Development Initiative is a key item high on China's diplomatic work agenda, and Beijing is steadfastly pushing forward its implementation," Chen said.

The initiative, first proposed by President Xi Jinping in September, includes eight priority areas for global teamwork. They are poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity.

The UN voiced support after the initiative's introduction and the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative was built in January via the UN.

Wang confirmed on Monday that "as many as 53 countries have joined the Group of Friends".

"However the world may change, what remains unchanged is the yearning of the people of all countries for a better life and their desire for and pursuit of development. This has added to the imperativeness and urgency of development," he said.

Prominent figures including Guterres highlighted the significance of advancing the initiative amid the global economic downturn and social uncertainties worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.

"We are fast approaching the midpoint of the time available to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. I will be blunt: Progress is in peril," Guterres said in a video speech.

"We must do better. And we can. Your discussions through the Global Development Initiative can help move the needle on development progress across all countries," he said.

The initiative is crucial for developing countries to act on major global challenges by implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai. "We also appreciate your openness and the inclusiveness of the GDI."

At the meeting, Wang called on countries to work together to re-energize global cooperation on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, creating a favorable environment to accelerate global development, fostering equal and balanced global development partnerships, and enabling the UN system to play the central and guiding role.

China will also release a Global Development Report in due time to promote international exchanges and sharing of development knowledge, he said.

Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the initiative comes at the right time and responds to the urgent needs of developing countries.

Mathu Joyini, South Africa's permanent representative to the UN, said digital connectivity and green recovery are of great significance to developing countries, and she looks forward to using the group to form greater synergy in related fields.

Ren Lin, head of the Department of Global Governance at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of World Economics and Politics, said: "Development requires action-oriented efforts. China has a good record in honoring its commitment."

China has made great contributions to helping less-developed countries and regions cope with the impact of the pandemic and unblocking global supply chains and industrial chains, she said.

"Currently, the world's multilateral cooperation process needs more coordination, and major economies should advance policy coordination among them to help the world economy walk onto a balanced, stable and healthy recovery track as soon as possible," she added.

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