Jointly Advancing the Global Development Initiative and
Writing a New Chapter for Common Development
Keynote Address by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
Welcome to the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI).
At the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, world leaders unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting goals for the global development cause and ushering in a new era of international development cooperation. We are nearly halfway through the timetable for implementing the 2030 Agenda, and will have a mid-term review of the Agenda next year. Global development has made positive gains over the past seven years, but is also faced with unprecedented challenges.
Bearing in mind the well-being of the entire humanity, President Xi Jinping proposed the GDI at the UN General Assembly last year. Aiming at building a global community of development, the GDI puts development first and the people at the center, and seeks to expedite the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. One year on, the GDI has received the support of over 100 countries and many international organizations including the United Nations. More than 60 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI. Today, the Group of Friends has become an important force boosting solidarity and coordination among countries as they work together to pursue development. It has also become an effective platform for us to have discussions with the UN development system on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is thus of great significance that we have this ministerial meeting today to further our discussions on development cooperation.
Global development has now come to a critical juncture. Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, regional conflicts and major-country rivalry, food, energy and debt crises are emerging simultaneously. The world economy is struggling to recover, and developing countries face daunting challenges in attaining the 2030 SDGs. At the SDG Moment event yesterday, Secretary-General Guterres said that the perils facing the world are pushing the SDGs further out of reach, and that we have a long “to do” list.
The more difficulties we face, the more important it is that we join hands on the way forward. Last June, President Xi Jinping chaired the High-level Dialogue on Global Development. He and participating world leaders worked together to restore development as the centerpiece on the international agenda and forge a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership, to inject strong impetus for accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda. President Xi announced major steps to implement the GDI, including creating a Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, increasing input in the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, and setting up a global development promotion center. After the High-level Dialogue, China released 32 steps that it will take to kickstart the implementation of the GDI.
The Dialogue signifies that the GDI has progressed from laying the foundation to erecting the pillars, and is evolving from broad strokes to refined details. In the meantime, China and international partners have worked on the following areas to deliver the GDI.
We have built cooperation platforms. China is working with relevant parties to develop cooperation networks in such areas as agriculture, education, COVID-19 response and climate actions. One hundred and fifty institutions from nearly 40 countries and regions are making joint preparations to establish a World Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) League. The China-Pacific Island Countries Climate Action Cooperation Center has been established. China has engaged in co-production of COVID-19 vaccines with 13 countries, including nine from the Group of Friends. More than 40,000 training opportunities have been provided to Group of Friends countries through over 1,000 capacity building programs.
We have scaled up inputs into GDI’s implementation. The Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund has been put in place to support GDI cooperation projects. China has participated actively in the replenishment of the International Development Association and the Global Environment Facility, and has officially launched the Phase III of the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund, contributing its share to increasing international development resources.
We have jointly tackled pressing challenges. COVID-19 has wiped out years of gains in poverty reduction, condemning over 150 million people to hunger. The GDI makes poverty reduction one of its priority areas. Cooperation projects have been tilted toward poverty reduction, food, health and other livelihood areas. Institutions from 17 countries and regions became the first to join the International NGOs Network for Poverty Reduction Cooperation. In the face of a food crisis, the Group of Friends has stated their common proposition and spoken with a collective voice at the General Assembly on food security. So far this year, China has provided multiple batches of emergency food assistance to other developing countries in need, and recently pledged to provide additional emergency humanitarian assistance.
As the GDI initiator and the world’s largest developing country, China is ready to enhance the synergy of strategies with UN development agencies, and together with Group of Friends countries, take the following seven measures to implement the 2030 Agenda:
— First, releasing the first list of projects in the GDI project pool, which includes 50 practical cooperation projects in poverty reduction, food security, industrialization and other fields, as well as 1,000 new capacity building programs. China will work with all parties for the delivery of these projects. Parties are welcome to put forth new proposals based on their own needs to constantly expand the pool.
— Second, advancing the Food Production Enhancement Action. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development will respectively sign agreements with the FAO on cooperation in digital and innovative agricultural financing, animal and plant disease prevention and control, and sustainable soil and water resource management.
— Third, moving forward the Global Clean Energy Cooperation Partnership and deepening practical cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency and other countries to advance a transition to clean energy and realize sustainable energy security.
— Fourth, bolstering cooperation on Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity, and working with international organizations like the World Customs Organization and other countries to develop smart customs networks and boost supply chain connectivity in the digital era.
— Fifth, launching the World Digital Education Alliance to intensify international cooperation on digital education, empower education development with digitization, and make education resources more affordable and accessible.
— Sixth, jointly launching the Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastics Global Action Plan with the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization to effectively treat plastic pollution and leave a clean and beautiful planet for future generations.
— Seventh, announcing that the data from the satellite “SDGSAT-1” China launched last November is open to the world, to support sustainable development research and decision-making in different countries.
China will donate to the UN six sustainable development data sets including on the world’s arable land and forest coverage. This will provide data support for realizing the SDGs on food security and terrestrial ecosystem protection.
The GDI needs common efforts and synergy from the international community. In this connection, China wishes to put forth three suggestions:
First, we need to forge greater synergy through coordination and enhance the steering role of the UN development system. There could be greater synergy between the GDI and other mechanisms and processes like the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. We hope that a working mechanism can be set up at the UN level as soon as possible to advance the GDI, and that related specialized agencies take the lead in synergizing with the GDI’s priority areas based on their portfolios. The Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and the China-UN Peace and Development Fund should be put to good use to mobilize and pool more resources.
Second, we need to follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to pool collective wisdom and strength. We need to enhance institutional building of the Group of Friends and identify coordinating countries for priority areas and regions. We should better link up the GDI with individual countries’ development needs and with regional and sub-regional development strategies, and come up with new project proposals. It is important that we step up strategic communication, continue to speak with one voice, and work together for positive outcomes from next year’s mid-term review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDG Summit.
Third, we need to uphold inclusiveness and common progress and renew global development partnership. Currently there is a huge shortfall in global development resources. We hope that developed countries will fulfill their ODA commitments, take part in project cooperation under the GDI, and scale up inputs in developing countries, especially the least developed countries and small island states. We hope that the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other international and regional development organizations will take an active part in GDI cooperation and provide more funding support for developing countries.
Every country has the right to development and everyone has the desire to develop. On the path of development, no country or individual should be left behind. This is the humble aspiration of the GDI and the goal advocated by the UN. While committed to its own development, China will continue to share development opportunities with all countries to achieve common progress of mankind. At this new historical starting point, we will stand with fellow developing countries and make all-out efforts to advance the GDI. Together, we will sound the clarion call for common development and establish fast tracks for development through cooperation. Let us join hands on our journey of implementing the 2030 Agenda and build an even better community with a shared future for mankind.