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Experts share views on Global Development Initiative

China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-24 08:04


Editor's note: The Global Development Initiative aims to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive development. China has been seeking to renew global focus on development issues and explore pathways for practical cooperation in an era when the world is beset with daunting challenges and great uncertainties. Three experts share their views on the issue with China Daily.

Initiatives can help realize 2030 Agenda

By Zhu Xufeng

The United Nations development agenda is a series of goals and plans aimed at promoting sustainable development globally. The agenda was first developed in the 1990s and includes the UN Agenda 21, adopted in 1992, and the Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000.

Starting with the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, and through multilateral and multiparty negotiations and consultations, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was eventually adopted in 2015.

The 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals across economic, social and environmental domains, and serves as an important document guiding global development. It specifically highlights the principle of "leaving no one behind" and concerns itself with the poverty alleviation and transformation of least developed countries.

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, countries across the world have made significant progress in implementing the sustainable development goals. Some goals have already been achieved. Notably, China has met the goal of poverty reduction 10 years ahead of schedule, and made remarkable achievements in universal primary education and reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates.

Countries are also actively working to realize other SDGs in such areas as climate change, environmental protection and sustainable urban development. And the international community is strengthening cooperation and coordination to jointly address global challenges.

However, in the process of implementing the 2030 Agenda, there are also some difficulties and challenges. Some developing countries lack the economic, technological and human resources to realize the SDGs on schedule, while others still face internal and external imbalances in political, economic and social spheres, which hinder the realization of the SDGs.

In addition, global challenges such as climate change, environmental pollution and natural disasters also pose a threat to sustainable development. And the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, in particular, have worsened the uneven development of countries around the world.

Some of the least-developed countries that had just lifted themselves out of poverty have rapidly slipped back into poverty again due to factors such as stagnation of key industries, rising commodity prices, currency devaluation and soaring foreign debt. These issues have raised concerns among the international community about whether the world will be able to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Against this backdrop, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2021. The GDI aims to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and calls on the international community to address the urgent issues faced by developing countries, in order to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and realize global common development.

Apart from making major achievements in development at home, China is also ready to cooperate with all parties to promote the implementation of the GDI across the world. The initiative proposes that developing countries strengthen their capabilities to achieve economic, social and environmental development and eliminate poverty in a coordinated manner.

The GDI is of great significance for promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda globally. It provides important support and guidance for the least-developed countries to achieve sustainable development, and emphasizes the importance of eradicating poverty, promoting economic growth, improving education and health standards and protecting the environment, while proposing specific action plans and goals.

Besides, the GDI has received extensive support from the international community, including governments, international organizations, such as the UN, as well as nongovernmental organizations. The establishment of the "Group of Friends of the GDI" in 2022 and the convening of various ministerial-level meetings show that governments are willing to work with China to strengthen partnerships in areas such as poverty reduction, clean energy, food security, industrialization, digital education and sustainable development data sharing in a bid to realize the 2030 Agenda globally.

Yet the implementation of the GDI requires joint efforts and cooperation of all parties, bridging the differences among countries and further promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

First, it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation and coordination to achieve the SDGs, so governments, international organizations and NGOs need to enhance cooperation and coordination to jointly promote sustainable development.

Second, developed countries need to provide more support and assistance to help the least-developed countries achieve sustainable development.

Third, countries should cooperate to enhance environmental protection, address climate change and continue climate change negotiations on the UN platform, so as to better protect global ecosystems and promote sustainable development.

And fourth, there is a need to improve the global governance system. For that, however, countries need to follow the principles of equality and mutual benefit in international affairs, and promote global development, while governments should strengthen the implementation and capacity building of the SDGs.

In summary, the GDI provides important support and assistance for the least-developed countries to realize the 2030 Agenda. And we hope the international community will continue to step up cooperation and promote the GDI, and work unitedly to realize the SDGs across the world.

The author is professor and dean of the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University; executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals, Tsinghua University and a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. 

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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