|Jointly Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and the 2030 Agenda for Global Sustainable Development|
First of all, I warmly congratulate Mr. Li Junhua on his appointment as the Under-Secretary-General.
I also congratulate UNDESA on releasing the progress report on BRI in support of the 2030 Agenda, and wish to thank USG Li Junhua for his introduction.
The 2030 Agenda carries the aspirations of people around the world for a better life, and points the way forward for global development and international development cooperation. We are now close to the halfway mark on the timetable for its implementation, but countries, especially developing ones, are still facing multiple crises and challenges. The progress in implementing the SDGs has apparently fallen short of expectations.
To realize the SDGs, we need not only firm commitments, but more importantly, concrete actions. In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, which offered China’s wisdom and solutions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The BRI is committed to enhancing policy, infrastructure, trade, finance, and people-to-people connectivity among countries. The Initiative is highly compatible with the 2030 Agenda in terms of visions, goals and measures, and provides strong support and impetus for the implementation of the SDGs. In the report released today, we can find rich examples of the BRI’s contributions to global sustainable development.
The BRI offers a path of solidarity for global partnerships. The Initiative is a global public good that practices true multilateralism, where everyone can discuss together, build together, and share together. Over the past nine years, China has signed over 200 Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 140 countries, and more than 30 international organizations. We have also held two Belt and Road Forums for International Cooperation, where we reached important consensus and jointly launched over 20 cooperation platforms in fields such as energy, port, railway, green development, and digital economy.
All these have opened up new horizons for Belt and Road cooperation with wide participation, great complementary, and common development. Just like UN Secretary-General Guterres noted, the BRI is “intrinsically linked” to the SDGs, and will help accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, thus benefiting people around the world.
The BRI offers a path of win-win cooperation on connectivity. Leveraging the pace-setting role of major projects, the BRI continues to make new progress in infrastructure construction. The China-Laos railway has completely opened for operation, and Laos has transformed from a land-locked country to a land-linked one. Projects like the Jakarta-Bandung railway, Hungary-Serbia railway, and China-Thailand railway are making key progress. The ports of Gwadar and Djibouti are gradually becoming regional logistics hubs. Kazakhstan has gained access to the ocean. Maldives now has its own cross-sea bridge. The China-Europe Railway Express enjoys stable operation, and has run over 1,000 services every month for 27 months in a row. The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which links China’s western region with countries in Southeast Asia, has achieved regular operation of rail-sea transport, with rapid growth in its services and the volume of trade in goods.
According to the data from the World Bank, if fully implemented, BRI infrastructure projects could increase trade between countries along the routes by 2.8% and GDP by 3.4%. It will lead to a 1.7% increase in global trade and a 2.9% increase in global GDP. Cooperation in all these projects have played an important role in addressing global challenges we face today.
The BRI offers a path of hope for global sustainable development. The Initiative has always been development-oriented, and consistent efforts have been made to ensure it is high-standard, sustainable and people-centered. The World Bank estimates that the infrastructure investment in the BRI could lift 7.6 million people worldwide out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic did not press the pause button on Belt and Road cooperation. Instead, the Initiative has emerged with greater resilience and vitality. The Silk Road of health, as well as the green Silk Road and the digital Silk Road continue to make headway.
China has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID vaccines to more than 120 countries, and launched joint production and technological transfer of vaccines in 20-plus countries. All these have made vaccines more accessible and affordable for people along the Belt and Road. In the first half of this year, The trade in goods and non-financial direct investment between China and other Belt and Road countries continued to grow. Positive progress has been made in the building of digital transport corridors, cross-border fiber optic cables, and the information harbors. All these cooperation measures have contributed significantly to countries’ efforts in fighting the pandemic, stabilizing the economy and ensuring people’s well-being.
Thanks to the concerted efforts from all parties, the BRI has become the biggest and widest-ranging platform for international cooperation. The 200 plus documents signed on Belt and Road cooperation are the vote of confidence cast by the international community. However, some individual countries refused to increase their input for development cooperation, but are obsessed with fabricating and spreading lies in an attempt to undermine Belt and Road cooperation. Facts have fully proven that their behaviors are purely politically motivated. They have seriously poisoned the atmosphere of international cooperation, which serves no one’s interests.
Our world today faces many challenges. To address both the symptoms and root causes, we must further advance Belt and Road cooperation, which will help us address challenges, combat the pandemic, promote global economic recovery, maintain the stability of global supply chains, and cope with food and energy crises. The BRI meets the needs of our times, the expectations of peoples, and the shared interests of all countries.
Belt and Road cooperation is by no means a solo of China, but a symphony performed by all partners. Your active participation, support and contributions are indispensable for its continued progress. We look forward to working with all partners to discuss together, build together, and share the benefits together, and strive for high-quality development of the BRI, so as to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and make greater contributions to the common development of all countries.