The world today is challenged by profound changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century.
The global development process is being severely impacted, and the Human Development Index has been set back for the first time in the recent 30 years. The pandemic has put some developing countries back into poverty and chaos again, and even many people in developed countries are in hot water because of it.
According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021 issued by the UN, 119 to 124 million people were pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020, and there was a big rise in the number of people that couldn't get enough to eat. Inequality within and among nations is also exacerbating as the pandemic ravages the world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Development Initiative (GDI) when delivering an important speech at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021. He called on the world to stay committed to development as a priority, stay committed to a people-centered approach, stay committed to benefits for all, stay committed to innovation-driven development, stay committed to harmony between man and nature, and stay committed to results-oriented actions.
He also encouraged the world to advance on a priority basis cooperation on poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity, among other areas.
The GDI is not proposed for a particular moment, event, country or region. It responds to the pressing challenges facing countries, especially developing countries, and is another major initiative proposed by China after the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
By re-prioritizing development, renewing commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, revitalizing global partnerships, and reactivating development cooperation, China has drawn up a road map for narrowing the North-South gap and addressing development imbalance, and has thereby given a boost to fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Besides, the country has also built a powerful synergy for making global development more robust, greener and more balanced, and for building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The GDI is highly consistent with the demands of all parties. It has been actively responded by the UN and nearly 100 countries, and incorporated in the outcome documents of a series of important conferences, including the China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
The Group of Friends of the GDI was launched in January this year at the UN headquarters in New York. Representatives from over 100 countries and 20 international organizations joined the launch, building greater international consensus on implementing the GDI.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the GDI one of great importance in advancing the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and addressing the inequality and imbalance in global development.
Erastus Mwencha, former deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, noted that the GDI is vital for Africa and even the entire world at large, adding that cooperation and dialogue are the best ways to solve global issues. He said everyone should shoulder the responsibility to maintain peace and development of the globe.
From "On the march towards common prosperity, no one will be left behind," to "On the road to the wellbeing of all mankind, no country or nation should be left behind," President Xi has vividly explained the essence of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
People-centered development philosophy is not an abstract concept, or something that's never implemented. Upholding such a philosophy, the GDI aims at enhancing people's welfare and achieving development for all people. Taking the rights to life and development as primary human rights, it promotes cooperation with solidarity, seeks progress through cooperation, and ensures human rights with the benefits deriving from development.
"Facts have shown once again that amidst the raging torrents of a global crisis, countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship on which our shared destiny hinges," Xi remarked. He also stressed that in the age of economic globalization, the security of all countries is interlinked and has impact on one another. No country can maintain absolute security with its own effort, and no country can achieve stability out of other countries' instability.
The GDI is an initiative facing the entire world. It will forge synergy in priority areas, respond to the needs of all countries, partner with cooperation mechanisms and reach out to partners of all sectors.
It advances practical cooperation in eight major areas, builds synergy for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as scheduled, and lights up the hope of leapfrog development for developing countries.
Bridging the development divide and revitalizing global development, the trend of peaceful development is unstoppable. From the BRI to the GDI, and from theoretical guidance to comprehensive promotion of practical cooperation, China has always been standing on the right side of history and human progress.
Joining hands to cope with global threats and challenges, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, we'll surely meet a better future.