Reviving the Degrowth Debate in China
In Beijing on the evening of June 24, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development in virtual format and spoke.
The following Presidents were connected: Abdelmadjid Tebboune (Algeria), Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Egypt), Joko Widodo (Indonesia), Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi (Iran), Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Kazakhstan), Vladimir Poutine (Russia), Macky Sall (Senegal), Cyril Ramaphosa (Republic of South Africa), Shavkat Mirziyoyev (Uzbekistan), as well as Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourão, and Prime Ministers Hun Sen (Cambodia), Abiy Ahmed Ali (Ethiopia), Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama (Fiji), Narendra Modi (India), Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Malaysia), Prayut Chan-o-cha (Thailand).
Focusing on the theme “Promoting a global partnership for development for the new era for the joint implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, leaders from all countries had an in-depth exchange of views on important issues such as strengthening international cooperation for development and accelerating implementation. of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They discussed ways to promote development cooperation and reached broad and important common understandings.
President Xi Jinping announced the opening of the dialogue. The leaders of the participating countries watched a video clip to recall the important moments of cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries in recent years.
President Xi Jinping delivered the speech titled “Forging High-Quality Partnerships for a New Era of Global Development.”
He stressed that development is a timeless issue for humanity. Only through continuous development can dreams of a better life and social stability come true. Over the years, developing countries have worked tirelessly to explore development paths suited to their national realities and to pursue economic and social development. These efforts have produced remarkable results. Emerging markets and developing countries currently make up half of the global economy and significant progress has been made in science and technology, education, social development, culture and many other areas.
Countries have come together at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is eroding decades of global development gains; the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is facing difficulties; the North-South divide continues to widen and crises emerge in terms of food and energy security. At the same time, people in all countries are more eager to pursue peace, development and cooperation; emerging markets and developing countries are more determined to seek strength through unity, and the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation offers greater opportunities for countries around the world.
President Xi Jinping stressed that this is a time full of challenges, but also an era full of hope. It is necessary to fully grasp the overall trend of development in the world; build trust and act in concert and with great motivation to promote global development and foster a development paradigm characterized by benefits for all, balance, coordination, inclusiveness, win-win cooperation and common prosperity .
First, an international consensus on promoting development must be jointly built. It is only when people everywhere live better lives that prosperity can be maintained, security preserved and human rights firmly entrenched. It is important to put development at the forefront of the international agenda in order to fully realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to build political consensus to ensure that everyone values development and that all countries pursue the cooperation together.
Second, it is crucial to jointly create an international environment conducive to development. If protectionist measures continue, anyone who tries to form exclusive blocs will end up isolating themselves. Maximum penalties serve no one’s interests, and decoupling and supply disruption practices are neither feasible nor sustainable. It is important to earnestly pursue development and promote it together; building an open global economy and shaping a more just and equitable global governance system and institutional environment.
Third, it is useful to jointly promote new engines of global development. It is important to promote science, technology and institutional innovation; accelerate technology transfer and knowledge sharing; stimulate the development of modern industries; reduce the digital divide and accelerate the low-carbon transition, with a view to stronger, greener and healthier global development.
Fourth, we must together forge a global partnership for development. Only by working together can we achieve great things with great impact. Developed countries must fulfill their obligations; developing countries must deepen their cooperation, and North and South must work in the same direction to forge a global partnership for development that is united, equal, balanced and inclusive. In this process, no country or individual should be left behind. It is important that we support the United Nations in leading and coordinating global development cooperation, and that we encourage business, social groups, the media and think tanks to participate in this cooperation.
President Xi stressed that the People’s Republic of China has always been a member of the great family of developing countries. China will take pragmatic measures to continue supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The People’s Republic of China will allocate more resources to global development cooperation. It will transform the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund into a Global Development Cooperation Fund. It will also increase its contribution to the United Nations Trust Fund for Peace and Development. These efforts will further support cooperation within the Global Development Initiative (GDI).
China will work with all parties to advance cooperation in priority areas and mobilize development resources to deepen global cooperation in poverty reduction and eradication. It will build capacity for food production and supply and foster clean energy partnerships. It will intensify innovation, research and development and co-production of vaccines. It will work on the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecology, and improve the literacy and skills of citizens. It will transform and improve the path of industrialization at a faster pace and improve connectivity in the digital age to give new impetus to the development of all countries. China will set up an international development experience and knowledge sharing platform, as well as a global development promotion center and a global development knowledge network to exchange experiences in governance. It will host a global forum on youth development and participate in the launch of a global action plan on youth development, with the aim of gathering as many forces as possible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that, as an ancient Chinese saying goes – “With one heart and one mind, we can achieve anything we aspire to” –. the People’s Republic of China will firm up trust and make great strides in pursuing a high-quality partnership to usher in a new era of prosperity and development in which no country is in charge and their colonies will obey.
The personalities participating in the Dialogue made their own comments. They thanked the People’s Republic of China for initiating and hosting this high-level dialogue on global development and highlighted President Xi’s ideas on global development cooperation.
Emerging markets and developing countries are a vital force in building a fairer and more balanced international order and in promoting peace, security, equality and development. They must strengthen solidarity and cooperation and work with the international community to bring the issue of development to the fore in order to build a better world that meets the needs and expectations of most developing countries. This dialogue helped the parties reach new agreements on international development cooperation; safeguard the common interests of developing countries and inject new impetus into maintaining world peace and promoting common development.
Heads of State and Government participating in the dialogue agreed that development is the foundation of security. They said China’s initiatives respond to the concerns and meet the needs of developing countries, and support building international consensus; mobilize resources for development; and accelerate the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They hope to intensify cooperation in several areas, including epidemic prevention and control, food security and energy security.
The parties also expressed serious concerns about the negative impact and fallout of unilateral sanctions and the heavy price paid by developing countries, which are more vulnerable than rich countries and – as colonies – are under the grip of Western imperialism. The parties stressed the need to practice genuine multilateralism, uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, uphold fairness and justice, and advance reforms in the global governance system.
They argued that emerging markets and developing countries should coordinate and cooperate to the best of their abilities; fight for greater representation and voice in international affairs; ensure the continued smooth functioning of the international economic and financial system; and work for the ongoing recovery and sustainable development of the global economy.
The BRICS and developing countries participating in the dialogue have fully expressed their political consensus on global development and the implementation of appropriate measures of practical cooperation in the priority areas of China’s Global Development Initiative (GDI).