Development is a timeless theme for humanity. In the late 1960s, I worked as a farmer in a small village on the Loess Plateau. There I experienced first-hand the hardships in farming and saw how the local people struggled to make ends meet. Their longing for a better life has stayed in my mind ever since. Half a century later, I revisited the village and found the villagers no longer in want of food or clothing, as evidenced by the happy smiles on their faces.
As an ancient Chinese saying goes, “Only when the granary is full will people learn etiquette; only when people are well-fed and clothed will they know honor and shame.” Throughout the years, I have been to cities, towns and villages across China and visited many countries in the world. One deep impression I get is that only through continuous development can the people’s dream for a better life and social stability be realized.
Over the years, developing countries have worked unremittingly to explore development paths suited to their national realities and to pursue economic and social development. Such efforts have produced remarkable outcomes. Today, emerging markets and developing countries account for half of the world economy, and notable progress has been made in science and technology, education, social development, culture and many other areas.
We are meeting at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is eroding decades of gains in global development, the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is encountering difficulties, the North-South gap keeps widening, and crises are emerging in food and energy security. Some countries have politicized and marginalized the development issue, built “a small yard with high fences”, imposed maximum sanctions, and stoked division and confrontation. At the same time, people in all countries are more keen about pursuing peace, development and cooperation, emerging markets and developing countries are more resolved to seek strength through unity, and the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is bringing more opportunities to countries around the world.
This is an age rife with challenges, but it is also an age full of hope. We must get a good grasp of the overarching development trend in the world, firm up confidence, and act in unison and with great motivation to promote global development and foster a development paradigm featuring benefits for all, balance, coordination, inclusiveness, win-win cooperation and common prosperity.
First, we need to jointly build international consensus on promoting development. Only when people all over the world live better lives can prosperity be sustained, security safeguarded and human rights solidly grounded. It is important that we put development front and center on the international agenda, deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and build political consensus to ensure everyone values development and all countries pursue cooperation together.
Second, we need to jointly create an enabling international environment for development. Protectionist moves will boomerang; anyone attempting to form exclusive blocs will end up isolating himself; maximum sanctions serve nobody’s interest, and practices of decoupling and supply disruption are neither feasible nor sustainable. It is important that we pursue development in real earnest and promote development in concert, build an open world economy, and shape a global governance system and institutional environment that are more just and equitable.
Third, we need to jointly foster new drivers for global development. Innovation is the primary driving force for development. It is important that we promote scientific, technological and institutional innovation, speed up technology transfer and knowledge sharing, boost the development of modern industries, close the digital divide and accelerate low-carbon transition, with a view to achieving stronger, greener and healthier global development.
Fourth, we need to jointly forge a global development partnership. Only by working together can we accomplish big and great things with a far-reaching impact. Developed countries need to fulfill obligations, developing countries need to deepen cooperation, and the North and the South need to work in the same direction to forge a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership. In this process, no country or individual should be left behind. It is important that we support the UN in steering and coordinating global development cooperation, and encourage business communities, social groups, the media and think tanks to take part in such cooperation.
China has always been a member of the big family of developing countries. At last year’s UN General Assembly session, I put forth the Global Development Initiative (GDI). China will take pragmatic steps to give continued support to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
— China will allocate more resources for global development cooperation. We will upgrade the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to a Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, and add US$1 billion to the fund on top of the US$3 billion already committed. We will also increase input to the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund. Such efforts will further support cooperation under the GDI.
— China will work with all sides to advance cooperation in priority areas and mobilize resources for development to deepen global cooperation on poverty reduction and eradication, build capacity for food production and supply, and promote clean energy partnerships; step up innovation, research and development and joint production of vaccines; work on the conservation and sustainable use of land and marine ecology; and raise digital literacy and skills of the public, transform and upgrade the path to industrialization at a faster pace, and enhance digital-era connectivity to inject new impetus into the development of all countries.
— China will set up a platform for experience and knowledge sharing on international development, a global development promotion center and a global knowledge network for development, for the purpose of exchanging governance experience and promoting mutual learning. We will host a global forum on youth development and take part in the launch of a global action plan on youth development, in a bid to pool as much strength as possible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As an ancient Chinese adage goes, “With one heart and one mind, we can accomplish everything we aspire for.” Let us firm up confidence, stride forward in pursuit of high-quality partnership, and usher in a new era of prosperity and development.
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