UN reps hail China’s Global Development Initiative as accelerator to achieving 2030 Agenda
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By Zhang Hui and Zhao Juecheng
A GLOBAL development report released on Monday put forward policy recommendations to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in eight aspects.

This was an important move for China to implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI), and the China proposed GDI was hailed by many UN representatives and ambassadors who believed the initiative is an accelerator to achieving the UN development goals.

The Global Development Report, published by the Centre for International Knowledge on Development, analysed the progress and challenges in implementing the 2030 Agenda including deteriorating global food security and the rise in extreme poverty, explained the core concepts, fundamental principles, implementation pathways and early harvests of the GDI, and offered policy recommendations for building a global community of development.

For example, in addressing the challenges of digital transformation, the report said automated production lines and intelligent robots could replace a large number of workers, which may lead to the disappearance of traditional labor-intensive occupations, and it is estimated that between 2020 and 2025, around 850 million jobs will be replaced by machines.

Focusing on the severe challenges facing the world, especially the developing countries, the report sought to renew focus on development issues, build international consensus, and explore pathways for practical cooperation.

At the launch of the report on Monday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the GDI provided an “accelerator” for implementing the 2030 Agenda, paved a fast track for development and offered an effective platform for all parties to align their development policies and deepen practical co-operation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will host the High-level Dialogue on Global Development in Beijing this week, where he and leaders of emerging markets and developing countries will discuss ways to promote global development and make a new start in international development co-operation, Wang said.

The GDI, proposed by President Xi at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2021, tackles the most urgent challenges in global development and focuses on eight priority areas: poverty reduction, food security, COVID-19 and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialisation, digital economy and connectivity, the report said.

It stressed that the GDI is not intended to replace existing international development agenda or to dilute the 2030 Agenda or cherry-pick the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but to re-commit to the SDGs, to revitalise global partnerships and to reactivate international development co-operation.

The GDI has received warm responses from the international community, with more than 100 countries expressing their support.

Carlos Watson, the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in China, said the China-proposed GDI is welcomed by the international community and by UN agencies because it’s an accelerator to reach to the 2030 agenda.

The GDI is the first initiative that has the main objective of accelerating the achievement of the SDGs, which unfortunately are off-track, Watson said.
“If we don’t act now, we will probably not reach our common goal,” he said.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Representative to China Stephen Bainous Kargbo said that the GDI is open to bringing in partners, and it’s a very privileged opportunity for the government of China to have invited UNIDO to be part of the formulation of the GDI to bring in what the UN believes are setting norms and standards. He said China is significant, open and inclusive in promoting the UN 2030 agenda.

In January 2022, the Group of Friends of the GDI was launched at the UN, and more than 50 countries have joined the group so far.

Egyptian Ambassador to China Mohamed Elbadri told the Global Times that Egypt is among the friends of the GDI at the UN, and is looking forward to working with other friends in pushing forward the initiative.

Elbadri said he hopes a synergy could be established between GDI and the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the UNFCCC, in Egypt in November, as COP 27 is an integral part of the sustainable development.

Several foreign representatives said China has played a responsible leading role in addressing many acute challenges facing the world, such as global poverty, food security and public health.

Pierre Krähenbühl, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Regional Delegation for East Asia, told the Global Times that China has shown leadership in the COVID-19 response, and the ICRC will work with China on the equitable distribution of vaccines, among other health issues.

He listed China’s contribution in Afghanistan, where China built two hospitals and the ICRC benefitted from Chinese perspectives and Chinese experiences.
The report said the GDI is being translated from concept to reality, with concrete results from co-operation projects in the eight priority areas.

For example, in February, the China-Pacific Island Countries Climate Action Co-operation Centre was inaugurated to support relevant countries in enhancing their capacity to cope with climate change and carry out relevant studies.

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