BFA Annual Conference 2024: Common challenges, shared responsibilities

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The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2024, themed “Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities,” was held in Boao, south China’s Hainan province from March 26 to 29.

In the face of a weak economic recovery, ongoing international instability, frequent extreme weather occurrences and natural disasters, as well as other severe challenges, the world is in urgent need of strengthening global cooperation.

BFA secretary general Li Baodong said the BFA hopes to contribute Asian wisdom and strength to the world economy and global development.

This year’s event was arranged around four major topics: the global economy, social development, international cooperation, and scientific and technological innovation, covering dozens of topics in some 40 sub-forums and relevant activities.

Nearly 2,000 participants explored how the world should unite and collaborate, face challenges together, jointly safeguard peace and stability, and achieve common development. 

The conference also focused on discussions surrounding topics such as Asian economic integration, green development, technological innovation, and digital economy.

At the first press conference of the BFA Annual Conference 2024, the Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress Annual Report 2024 and the Sustainable Development: Asia and the World Annual Report 2024 were released.

The reports said the global economy would continue to experience uncertainties and divergence in 2024; nevertheless, the momentum of Asian economic growth and regional economic integration will remain robust, and a promising overall economic performance is on the horizon.

Participants in the event believe that the high-quality development of the Chinese economy and the cohesion of Asian development and cooperation have made various parties optimistic about the prospects for economic growth in the region, and confident in strengthening regional cooperation and sharing development opportunities.

According to the Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress Annual Report 2024, the Asian economy will still maintain a relatively high growth rate this year, which is expected to surpass that of 2023, reaching around 4.5 percent. In terms of purchasing power parity, Asia’s economic aggregate is expected to account for 49 percent of global GDP in 2024.

The process of regional integration in Asia continues to advance, playing a crucial role in promoting an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization.

The Belt and Road Initiative, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and the Concept of Cooperation Between Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States in the Development of Interconnectivity and the Creation of Efficient Transport Corridors have been deeply docked. 

The China-Europe freight train service has become a major international transportation artery connecting Asia and Europe. The China-Laos Railway has seen a thriving flow of passengers and cargo. The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway has maintained a high level of passenger traffic. 

Besides, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other trade agreements have been successfully implemented.

In the face of rising trade protectionism and economic fragmentation, the Asian economies have taken “hard connectivity” of infrastructure and “soft connectivity” of rules as key approaches to pragmatically promote regional economic integration, support economic globalization, and inject new impetus into the common development of regional countries.

Climate change is one of the major challenges that the world is facing today as a whole, and promoting energy transition and achieving low-carbon development has become a global trend. According to the Sustainable Development: Asia and the World Annual Report 2024, energy transition is the key to embracing the green industrial revolution and achieving green development in Asia.

Zhou Xiaochuan, vice chairman of the BFA, said that Asia possesses the world’s core technologies for clean production and has gathered global investments in clean energy. It is actively engaged in green production, infrastructure construction, and finance and technology cooperation, Zhou added.

Nishant Bhardwaj, Global Sector Lead – Renewable Energy at the Global Green Growth Institute, pointed out that China has provided significant support and assistance to other countries, particularly developing countries, in terms of clean energy technology, financing, and infrastructure. It is believed that through international cooperation, China will help these countries accelerate their energy transition, he said.

It is reported that this year’s BFA Annual Conference kept embracing a green conference concept and continuously improved its services. The Boao near-zero carbon demonstration zone officially started operation on March 18, integrating various systems into a near-zero carbon operation management system, achieving intelligent operation and management. It ensured that all venues were supplied with pure “green electricity” during the conference.



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