|Conclusion remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the High-Level Virtual Meeting of the Group of Friends of The Global Development Initiative|
Today’s event is the first high-level meeting of the Group of Friends since its launch. Just now, we have listened to the keynote speeches by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Secretary-General Guterres, and Ministers of six Group members. In the interactive session, Group members and UN agencies had in-depth discussions on the implementation of the Initiative and practical cooperation in the eight priority areas. We are heartened to see that this meeting has not only pointed the way for future cooperation, but also strengthened our confidence in the development of the Group. I believe that today’s meeting has achieved four outcomes:
First, new consensus. Ever since its introduction, the GDI has been well-received by the international community, and the Group of Friends has also drawn wide attention at the UN. At present, there are already more than 50 members of the Group. This fully shows that the GDI is following the prevailing trend of global development, and is in line with the shared expectations of all parties, especially developing countries. Through today’s meeting, we have further consolidated our recognition and support of the Initiative, and forged new consensus on solidarity and cooperation. We look forward to more countries joining the Initiative and the Group of Friends to together map out the way forward for common development. We welcome more UN agencies to participate in practical cooperation within the GDI framework, and welcome all sectors of the international community to contribute their wisdom and build a strong global partnership for development.
Second, new projects. More than half a year after its introduction, the Initiative has been gradually translated from concept to practice, and we have started to see early harvests. In March this year, under the GDI framework, China co-organized with UNOSSC the seminar program named South-South Cooperation in Cross-border E-commerce for Poverty Eradication and Global Sustainable Development. The program has trained more than 1,000 people from nearly 100 countries, and was widely acclaimed by all parties. Today’s meeting once again offers an important opportunity for Group members to deepen cooperation with UN development agencies. In our discussions, relevant parties have raised many opinions and suggestions on how to deepen the cooperation, which will help us further advance and enrich the Initiative, and create more high-quality projects that meet the urgent needs of developing countries. As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, China will establish a pool of GDI projects to be participated by all parties, bringing more benefits to people around the world.
Third, new pathways. All parties agreed that the Group has become an effective platform for promoting GDI implementation at the UN, and look forward to expanding practical cooperation. China will work with other members to formulate working plans of the Group. We will also, at an appropriate time, discuss establishing mechanisms for internal management as well as cooperation with external partners to improve the Group’s working structure and content. Just as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi mentioned in his speech, we should support the SG in prioritizing development, ,mobilizing UN development agencies, and enhancing coordination through institution-building to advance the implementation of the GDI and achieve the SDGs. According to the suggestions by Group members, we will promote the SG to establish a task force composed of UN agencies and renowned experts. This arrangement will help the UN and development agencies effectively leverage their professional advantages to support the GDI implementation and work together for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. China will also release a Global Development Report in due time to enhance knowledge exchange and sharing on development. We will keep you updated on the relevant progress, and welcome active participation from all parties.
Fourth, new momentum. At today’s meeting, we had in-depth discussions on the eight priority areas of the GDI. We all believe that the eight areas fully reflect the prominent challenges facing today’s global development, and that they effectively cover and contribute to the realization of all the 17 SDGs, therefore serving as focus points for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. At the same time, today’s meeting has facilitated the dovetailing of the UN development agenda with the development strategies of countries, regions, groups of countries, and multilateral cooperation mechanisms. This will help create synergy and bring the global development cause back onto the right track at an early date.
With today’s meeting, the GDI has taken another step forward at the UN. Next, the Group will continue its work centered around the three key areas, namely, strengthening policy dialogue, sharing best practices, and promoting practical cooperation. At the same time, in light of the new situation, the Group will also focus on the following four areas.
First, effectively addressing global crises. Due to some geopolitical factors, we are witnessing looming crises in the global food, energy, and financial sectors, as well as disruptions in supply chains. All these are hindering countries’ economic recovery and sustainable development. The GDI prioritizes areas such as food security, green development, financing for development, and digital connectivity. It has an important role to play in the response to these crises. The Group will actively consider working with the Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, and provide advice to countries on how to address the risks and challenges they face.
Second, facilitating the implementation of the UN development agenda. The multiple challenges we face in today’s world have brought notable spillover effect to the UN’s work, and marginalized the development agenda, causing widespread concerns among developing countries. This deserves our high attention. Against this backdrop, the GDI has become even more relevant, and has received wide attention and high expectations from all parties, especially developing countries. The next step in the GDI implementation will be more result-oriented and cooperation-driven. It will focus more on integration with the UN development agenda, and the working plans and key areas of development agencies, so as to form greater synergy and promote the international community to re-prioritize development, and renew its commitments to SDGs.
Third, deepening South-South cooperation. Since its introduction, the GDI has made it an important goal to deepen South-South cooperation and promote common development of developing countries. The current situation has made South-South cooperation even more important. We hope members will strengthen policy exchange and experience sharing under the GDI framework, and help each other achieve post-pandemic recovery and together tide over the trying time. To further implement the Initiative and promote South-South cooperation, China will enhance consultation with other emerging markets and developing countries, and hold a high-level meeting on global development at the proper time to build consensus on international development cooperation at a higher level. We look forward to the active participation of Group members in the follow-ups of the Initiative.
Fourth, tapping the potential of resources. Funding is key to the implementation of the Initiative. As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, China will further ramp up its support for the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund and the China-UN Peace and Development Fund. We will channel relevant resources towards the GDI implementation, improve project application procedures, expand funding coverage, and create more practical and useful projects. China will also work with all parties to deepen North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation under the GDI framework. Together, we will effectively mobilize all parties to provide more resource to developing countries, and invest in the most urgent areas of global recovery and sustainable development.
Finally, I wish to again thank everyone for your active participation and lively discussions. As we have agreed, the outcomes of this high-level virtual meeting will be presented in the form of a Chair’s Summary. The Chinese side has already circulated the draft, and has fully listened to comments and suggestions at the preparatory meeting. After today’s meeting, we will further update the Summary, and officially distribute the final version to all Group members. We will also send a letter to the SG on behalf of the Group with the Chair’s Summary. This will promote the SG and the UN agencies to actively support and participate in the GDI implementation for new progress.
Once again, I thank you all for attending today’s event, and we look forward to seeing you again in our next Group meeting.