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Building Consensus on Development and Opening A New Chapter of Cooperation——Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative successfully held the High-Level Virtual Meeting

2022-05-10 12:40

On May 9, the High-Level Virtual Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed the meeting via video link. UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a video message. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Foreign Minister of Cuba Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Secretary of State of Ministry of Planning of Cambodia Thavrak Tuon, Deputy Foreign Minister of Egypt Hamdi Sanad Loza, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, FAO Director General Qu Dongyu, and heads of UNEP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, UNIDO and other UN development agencies participated in the meeting and delivered remarks. More than 150 delegates from over 60 countries, including Group members, joined the meeting and had an interactive dialogue. Permanent Representative of China to the UN Ambassador Zhang Jun chaired the meeting and made conclusion remarks. The meeting with lively discussions lasted for more than 4 hours.

At the high-level segment, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out in his keynote speech that the Global Development Initiative is committed to building political consensus on accelerating development, building a common platform for development cooperation, promoting exchanges and mutual learning of development experience, and enhancing international synergy for coordinated development, which reflects the trend of the world as well as the aspiration of the people. In order to promote the implementation of the Initiative, China proposes re-energizing global cooperation on the 2030 Agenda, creating a favorable environment to accelerate global development, fostering equal and balanced global development partnership, and enabling the UN system to play the central and guiding role. Wang Yi also announced the important pragmatic measures China will take to promote the implementation of the initiative, and expressed willingness to work with all parties to make new contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, deepening global development cooperation, and  building a community with a shared future for mankind.

In his speech, Secretary-General Guterres said that we are fast-approaching the mid-point of the time to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but the progress is in peril. We must and can do better. Discussions through the GDI can help move the needle on development progress across all countries. For people, for planet, and for our common future, it’s time to rescue the SDGs.

Ministers at the meeting spoke highly of China’s leading role in promoting the implementation of the SDGs, expressed strong support for the GDI, and looked forward to working with Group members to deepen cooperation in the priority areas and contribute to global development. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai said that the GDI is of great significance to developing countries in addressing global challenges and implementing the 2030 Agenda. He appreciated the openness and inclusiveness of the Initiative. He said that the Group of Friends will help members to dovetail and cooperate with the UN on development, and called on more countries to join the Group. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tileuberdithe said that the GDI proposed by President Xi Jinping is timely and responds to the urgent needs of developing countries. Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Pakistan looks forward to cooperating with China and other members of the Group to promote the common aspiration of peace and prosperity, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. Foreign Minister of Cuba Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said that the GDI closely follows the 2030 Agenda, emphasizes the priority of development, ensures the right to development for South countries, and helps the international community to place development issues at the core of the international system. Secretary of State of Ministry of Planning of Cambodia Thavrak Tuon said that the GDI is an important cooperation mechanism to strengthen policy dialogue and share best practices, and hoped that this meeting will redefine sustainable development priorities and synergize with other processes. Deputy Foreign Minister of Egypt Hamdi Sanad Loza said that the GDI provides an excellent platform for countries to share experiences in South-South and triangular cooperation, which will strongly contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

At the interactive session, ambassadors of the Group members and the UN development agencies had in-depth exchanges on pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the GDI. In their active interventions, they spoke highly of China’s hosting of this high-level meeting, believing that facing many challenges such as COVID-19 and geopolitical conflicts, the meeting will effectively promote the international community to refocus on development and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They appreciated China’s efforts of injecting new impetus into the cause of global development by implementing the Initiative. They hoped that the Group of Friends of the GDI will continue to grow, deepen practical cooperation, get more outcomes, and strive for stable and long-term progress. Singapore said that the GDI is a “booster shot” for multilateralism and the UN development system, and should be better aligned with the UN agenda and international institutions to achieve synergy between global, regional and national development agendas. South Africa said that digital connectivity and green recovery have big implications for developing countries, and that it looks forward to taking the Group as a platform to form greater synergy in related fields. Qatar said that China’s experience is particularly important to developing countries, and it is willing to strengthen exchanges and sharing with the China and other members of the Group to carry out practical cooperation. USG Liu Zhenmin said that the GDI responds to the urgent needs of global development, contributes to synergy, helps focus on key areas, and promotes global development. UNDP Administrator, FAO Director General and other heads of UN development agencies said that the GDI is highly consistent with their key works and priority areas, and they are willing to make full use of their professional advantages to support the implementation of the GDI and discuss specific projects with Group members in the eight priority areas.

In his conclusion remarks, Ambassador Zhang said that this meeting has not only pointed the way for future cooperation, but also strengthened our confidence in the development of the Group. It marks GDI’s another step forward at the UN. The meeting has achieved four outcomes:

First, new consensus. The meeting further consolidated our recognition and support of the Initiative, and forged new consensus on solidarity and cooperation. More countries are welcome to join the Initiative and the Group of Friends to together map out the way forward for common development.

Second, new projects. More than half a year after its introduction, the Initiative has been gradually translated from concept to practice, and has started to get early harvests. The meeting once again offers an important opportunity for Group members to deepen cooperation with UN development agencies. We look forward to the joint efforts of all parties to create more high-quality projects that meet the urgent needs of developing countries.

Third, new pathways. The Group has become an effective platform for promoting GDI implementation at the UN. China will work with other members to formulate working plans of the Group and discuss establishing mechanisms for internal management as well as cooperation with external partners to improve the Group’s working structure and content at an appropriate time .

Fourth, new momentum. All parties believed 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. The 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.

Ambassador Zhang highlighted that the Group will continue its work centered around the three key areas, including strengthening policy dialogue, sharing best practices, and promoting practical cooperation. The Group will also focus its work on four areas: addressing global crises, facilitating the implementation of the UN development agenda, deepening South-South cooperation, and tapping the potential of resources.

The outcomes of this high-level virtual meeting will be presented in the form of a Chair’s Summary, which will comprehensively sort out the discussion at the meeting and the consensus of Group members, and provide guidance for the future work. According to the suggestions of Group members, the Chair’s Summary will be submitted to Secretary-General Guterres to promote the SG and UN agencies to actively support and participate in the implementation of the GDI, and continue to make new progress.

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