Building Consensus and Synergy for a Bright Future of Global Development
– Address by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Sustainable Development Forum 2021
26 September 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very glad to attend the Sustainable Development Forum 2021 and to discuss with you grand plans for international development cooperation and to explore together ways toward sustainable development. With “people-centered sustainable development” being the theme of the Forum, our in-depth discussions will offer insights and visions for the world to achieve post-COVID recovery and advance international development cooperation.
Development is the eternal pursuit of human society. The world today is under the combined impacts of the pandemic and world-wide changes, both unseen in a century. Global economic recovery has been uneven. The pandemic has wiped off the achievements in global poverty reduction of the past ten years. And the population suffering from hunger has amounted to around 800 million. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is confronted with new challenges. As the international development cause stands at a crossroads, President Xi Jinping solemnly proposed the Global Development Initiative at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He called on the international community to accelerate implementation of the 2030 SDGs for more robust, greener and more balanced global development, and foster a global community of development with a shared future. This major Initiative has set out a blueprint for the development of countries and international development cooperation, and pointed the way forward for global development and international development cooperation.
The Global Development Initiative embraces the people-centered core concept. It takes the betterment of people’s well-being and realization of their well-rounded development as the starting point and ultimate goal, and endeavors to meet the aspirations of all nations for a better life. It focuses on development as the master key to addressing all problems, and strives to solve difficult issues of development and create more opportunities for development, leaving no countries and no individuals behind.
The Global Development Initiative follows the guidelines of practical cooperation. International development cannot be advanced with rhetoric. It needs real actions. The Initiative responds to the dynamics and urgent needs of global development, and has identified priority areas including poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy, and connectivity. To this end, it has also put forward cooperation proposals and plans to translate development consensus into pragmatic actions so as to inject new impetus to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The Global Development Initiative advocates the spirit of open and inclusive partnership. To achieve sustainable development, we need the wisdom and strength of everyone. The Initiative is an important public good and cooperation platform that China provides to the international community. It is open to the whole world and welcomes the participation of all countries. It will form synergy with other initiatives including the Belt and Road Initiative, Agenda 2063 of the African Union, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. It will build consensus and pool together the strengths of multilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the UN, the G20 and BRICS as well as various sub-regional and regional platforms.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The pandemic has brought about multiple crises and challenges in the economic, public health, food and social sectors to the international community, particularly the developing countries. Implementing the 2030 Agenda has become more important, not less. Deepening international development cooperation has become more urgent, not less. We call on all to use the implementation of the Global Development Initiative as an opportunity, make firm political commitment, and take practical actions so as to move forward the cause of international development.
We need to deepen cooperation in fighting COVID-19 to prevail together over the challenge. As the virus keeps mutating and the pandemic remains rampant, we must put in place multiple lines of defense, and do our best to stem the cross-border spread of the virus. Origins-tracing should be based on science, and we must oppose politicization and stigmatization. We need to guarantee the R&D and production of vaccines, and ensure their fair distribution. We need to ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability so as to close the “immunization gap”.
We need to strengthen macro-policy coordination to promote economic recovery. Economic growth is the important basis for promoting development. Facing the grave situation of fragile global economic recovery, all countries, major economies in particular, need to adopt responsible macro-economic policies and enhance policy communication and coordination so as to help achieve stability and growth. We need to seize the historic opportunities in the new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, stay innovation-driven, and deepen cooperation on digital technologies to help developing countries realize industrialization and modernization in a better, faster way. We need to join hands to build an open world economy, and make globalization more open, more inclusive, and more balanced for the benefits of all. Any attempt to use the pandemic for the purpose of de-globalization, seclusion, de-coupling or protectionism will undermine the interests of others as well as one’s own. It will lead to a dead end, and create new obstacles to the realization of the SDGs globally.
We need to pursue green and low-carbon development to proactively tackle climate change. Green and low-carbon development is the most sustainable growth driver, and a sound eco-environment benefits everyone. We need to seize the opportunities arising from technological progress and economic transition, take the path of green development, and upgrade our economic and industrial structures as well as the energy mix at a faster pace. We need to step up systematic protection of nature, and advance global environmental governance, so as to realize harmony between man and nature and build a clean and beautiful world. We also need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, fully implement the Paris Agreement and strengthen global climate governance, with a view to promoting global ecological civilization.
We need to uphold fairness and justice and create an enabling environment for development. There is no golden rule or one-size-fits-all model for development paths of various countries. Every country should choose its own path tailored to its own realities. We should abide by international law and the basic norms governing international relations, enhance actions to silence the guns, safeguard world peace and security, and promote human rights, especially people’s right to development, so as to create an enabling environment for the development of all countries. The world needs justice, not high-handedness. We should respect every country’s independent choice of its path and system, treat each other as equals, readily learn from each other, and oppose bullying practices such as imposing one’s will on others and interfering in others’ internal affairs.
We need to safeguard true multilateralism and deepen the global development partnership. True development is sustainable, and good development is development for all. We should practice global governance guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, safeguard the UN-centered international system, give full play to UN’s coordinating role in promoting sustainable development, prioritize development in global macro-policy coordination, step up North-South cooperation and deepen South-South cooperation. We should provide more resources to developing countries to shore up their capacity for self-generated development, eliminate the development divide, and jointly foster a global community of development with a shared future.
China always takes development as the top governance agenda, and attaches great importance to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We have achieved the historic success of eliminating absolute poverty, completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and are marching toward the second centenary goal of fully building a great modern socialist country. We have put in place the world’s largest social security network and compulsory education system, and expanded China’s middle-income population by hundreds of millions, resulting in a notably greater sense of happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment among the Chinese people. Firmly committed to the vision of a community of life for man and nature, China has been coordinating its management of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands, deserts and glaciers, robustly implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, and adhering to the path of green, low-carbon and circular development by constantly upgrading its industrial structure and energy mix. We have partnered with 141 countries in Belt and Road cooperation to promote common development through greater connectivity. Despite COVID-19, the China-Europe Railway Express remains in active service, and the development of the green Silk Road, the digital Silk Road and the health Silk Road is gaining momentum, delivering solid progress according to the vision of open, green and clean cooperation for high-standard, people-centered and sustainable development based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. In his statement a few days ago at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, President Xi Jinping announced that China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad. This is one of the many important decisions China voluntarily made to help tackle global climate change. We will strive to make new contributions to green development of the world through our actions.
As the largest developing country, China always stands in solidarity with other developing countries. We have been actively promoting South-South cooperation, and have provided development aid to more than 160 developing countries. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have carried out the largest global humanitarian operation since the founding of the People’s Republic. We are honoring our solemn pledge to make Chinese vaccines a global public good, and have provided more than 1.25 billion doses of vaccines for the world. President Xi Jinping announced recently that China will provide a total of two billion doses of vaccines for the rest of the world by the end of this year, and that on top of the US$100 million donation to COVAX, China will donate an additional 100 million doses to fellow developing countries within this year. This is China’s important contribution to global vaccination. China will release its Progress Report on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2021) and Big Earth Data in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals (2021), which we believe will provide useful experience for the international implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
An ancient Chinese philosopher once observed, “Devote your attention to the basics, and when you master them, you will find the way.” China stands ready to work with all parties to advance the Global Development Initiative, and contribute our strength to quickening the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to delivering more benefits to the people of all countries. Let us work together to open a bright future for international development cooperation and build a community with a shared future for mankind.