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GDI contributes to UN development goals

By Luo Zhaohui | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-26 07:25


Talking about the latest progress of the Global Development Initiative, the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals must be mentioned first.

We usually say life is hard and ask how to make it good. When life is good, we ask how to make it better. The SDGs are the way to make our life, country and world better.

Adopted by UN member states in 2015, the SDGs are the most important consensus on global development, covering 17 major goals. As a state member of the UN, China fulfills its obligations, and attaches great importance to achieving the SDGs.

China makes fastest progress in SDGs

China has integrated the SDGs into its national development policy, the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), established an interagency coordination mechanism while maintaining close interaction with the UN and its branches in China. It has also issued position papers and progress reports on the SDGs, and actively participated in the UN High-level Political Forum and related conferences.

In fact, China has made the fastest progress among developing countries on the SDGs. For example, it has achieved the poverty reduction goal of the SDGs 10 years before schedule. Last year, China's GDP was about $18 trillion, with its per capita GDP being more than $12,000.

China has accumulated valuable experiences in development on the way to realizing the SDGs, providing the world with a feasible method to boost development and realize the SDGs.

Today, the international environment has become more complicated. What we are facing are increasing geopolitical conflicts, intensified major power competition, slow-down in North-South cooperation, and expanding development gap. According to UN statistics, more than 800 million people still go hungry and 350 million need humanitarian help in the world. The development agenda is drifting away, and the SDGs' momentum fading away.

Put SDGs back on global development agenda

We should cherish the global consensus on the SDGs, put the SDGs back in the center of the international development agenda, and jointly promote common development.

For this purpose, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative two years ago. It's the latest guideline and action plan for consolidating the global consensus on and accelerating the global implementation of the SDGs. To emphasize the SDGs' importance and urgency, the GDI identifies eight priority areas from the SDGs' 17 targets, including poverty reduction, food security, pandemic response, financing for development, fighting climate change and promoting green development, and the digital economy. So far, more than 100 countries and the UN as well as international and regional organizations have voiced support for the GDI.

Last year, President Xi Jinping announced 32 follow-up measures on the GDI. China promotes the implementation of the GDI and the SDGs in a coordinated way.

The China International Development Cooperation Agency is in charge of China's foreign aid and international development cooperation, including coordinating the GDI projects in all aspects. We have achieved more than 200 early harvest projects benefiting more than 60 developing countries through bilateral and multilateral channels with grants, concessional loans and the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund.

We have developed GDI projects and fund pools. On the GDI and the SDGs, we lack funds, not good projects. Project-selecting and fund-supporting are crucial concerns of all the parties.

Addressing development project, financing concerns

We have been focusing on preparing relevant documents and addressing concerns, such as project selection standards, application and applicants' paths, as well as financing participants, and making clear the participation methods. We released the "Non-paper of the GDI Project Pool" and "Non-paper of the GDI Project Pool Financing" on April 19.

We have established the Global Development Promotion Center and the Global Development Promotion Center Network, as well as the "Group of Friends of the GDI" in New York, signed bilateral GDI cooperation documents with many countries including Pakistan and Tanzania. A few days ago in New York, I signed a memorandum of understanding on the GDI with Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister Chimed Khurelbaatar. We have also established cooperative relationships with some international and regional organizations, financial institutions and NGOs.

To promote the GDI, we have organized many activities in cooperation with various parties, including the Anti-corruption Forum on Global Development Cooperation, the Conference on China-South Asia Development Cooperation, the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development and Cooperation, the International Forum on Hybrid Rice Assistance and Global Food Security, and the International Forum on the 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of Artemisinin.

We also released reports on "China's Experience and Contribution concerning International Development and Cooperation" and screened a photo-feature on China's development assistance on April 19.

Guided by a profound development principle

China's actions on the GDI and the SDGs are under the guidance of President Xi Jinping's important visions including a community with a shared future for mankind and the Belt and Road Initiative. We believe that humankind today lives in a global village, and real development can be achieved only when all countries achieve development.

Up to now, we have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 170 countries and international organizations. Also, more than 3,000 cooperation projects have been adopted.

China initiated the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank. It established the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and the China-UN Peace and Development Fund. And it will continue to provide grants, interest-free and concessional loans to other developing countries.

China is also taking an active part in bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is the major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions, and its foreign investment has maintained stable development. As a matter of fact, China's trade and investment abroad have greatly promoted relevant countries' economic and social development.

China is implementing the G20's Debt Service Suspension Initiative in all aspects, accounting for the largest amount of suspended debt among all G20 members. Through bilateral channels, China is helping other developing countries to ease their debt burden. And no country is beset with a debt trap because of China.

For the SDGs and the GDI, China has been working to achieve all the goals. But more needs to be done, for which the world must act together.

First, there is a need to build a consensus on the SDGs and the GDI, and concentrate on development efforts. This year marks the mid-term evaluation of the SDGs. It's time to uphold true multilateralism, and make good use of the SDGs Summit, the Third South Summit, the First Forum on Global Action for Shared Development in China to be held this year. We should put back the development agenda at the center of the international agenda, and pay special attention to resolving insecurity issues so as to create a favourable environment for the SDGs and the GDI.

Second, we should emphasize the UN's leadership, and strengthen comprehensive coordination. The UN should play the leading role in reaching the SDGs, and the goals of the GDI. We should push forward global development governance, strengthen policy coordination, make development a priority, comprehensively link the SDGs with the development policies of all countries, focus on consistent and joint action, and refuse empty talk.

Third, we should promote North-South cooperation, and be on the same page on development issues. We should strengthen the international development cooperation setup, with North-South cooperation as the main channel and South-South cooperation as a beneficial supplement. And we should adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", expand trilateral and multilateral cooperation, seek common ground by setting aside differences on development methods, rules and standards, in order to foster a new type of North-South relationship.

And fourth, China is making consistent efforts to promote common development. The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China announced that China is prepared to invest more resources in global development cooperation and remains committed to narrowing the North-South gap, and supporting and assisting other developing countries to boost their development. China will continue its development activities, make more contributions to achieving the SDGs, and the goals of the GDI to ensure that no country or people are left behind on the road to development.

The author is chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency. This is an excerpt from his speech at the Briefing on GDI at the UN Headquarters on April 19.

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