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Global Development Initiative Provides a Blueprint for Responding to World Changes


The director of China Foreign Affairs University’s National Soft Power Research Center explores the recently proposed Global Development Initiative, arguing that it “adheres to the original mission of the Chinese Communist Party and injects strong ideological impetus to unite all countries in the world for common development and win-win cooperation.”

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At the crossroads facing the cause of international development, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the “Global Development Initiative” for the first time at the 76th UN General Assembly in 2021: Staying committed to development as a priority, staying committed to the primacy of people, staying committed to benefits for all, staying committed to innovation-driven development, staying committed to harmony between man and nature, and staying committed to results-oriented actions. In his speech at the 2022 World Economic Forum video conference, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: “Last year, I proposed the Global Development Initiative at the UN General Assembly, calling on the international community to pay attention to the pressing issues facing developing countries.” “China is willing to work with all parties to jointly promote the implementation of the initiative and strive to not leave any country behind.” The Global Development Initiative calls for “jointly promoting global development to a new stage of balance, coordination, and inclusiveness,” which draws a blueprint for coping with the changing world and points out the direction for building a community with a shared future for global development.


Injecting ideological impetus into uniting countries for common development


General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that the Chinese people not only hope for a good life for themselves but also for the people of other countries. The Global Development Initiative adheres to the original mission of the Communist Party of China and injects a strong ideological impetus to unite all countries in the world for common development and win-win cooperation.


Staying committed to development as a priority: The initiative first clarifies the priority of development, emphasizes that development should be placed in a prominent position in the global macro policy framework, strengthens policy coordination among major economies, maintains continuity, stability, and sustainability, and builds a more equal and balanced global development partnership. This will then promote the synergy and efficiency of multilateral development cooperation processes and accelerate the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In recent years, the world as a whole has become intertwined with wars and crises, such as economic downturns, geopolitical turmoil, clashes of civilizations, and the spread of the pandemic, all of which have become superimposed upon one another. From an overall perspective, all the chaos in the world today is a reflection of the unresolved themes of peace and development. In the face of crises and challenges, China firmly believes that development is the master key to solving all problems and continues to focus on key areas of global development such as poverty reduction, infrastructure construction, education, and health. We actively promote the construction of an open world economy and help developing countries better integrate into global industrial and value chains. The new development concept of innovation, coordination, greenness, openness, and sharing will be deeply rooted in the hearts of the people.


Staying committed to the primacy of people: The initiative highlights that the goal of development is the primacy of people and emphasizes the protection and promotion of human rights and the protection and promotion of human rights in development. Development is for the people, development depends on the people, and the fruits of development are shared by the people. The goal must be to continuously enhance the people’s sense of happiness, gain, and security and to realize the all-round development of mankind. The concept of primacy of people in development solves the fundamental problem of “for whom,” which not only embodies the basic principles of Marxist historical materialism about the creation of history by the masses and also demonstrates the traditional Chinese political philosophy that “the essence of governance is livelihood; and the essence of livelihood is adequacy.” General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: Development for the sake of the people makes development meaningful. Only when development depends on the people will development gain momentum. Only by taking the realization of all-round development of mankind as the starting point and end point and the aspiration of people of all countries for a better life as the goal, can we solve all kinds of development problems and create more development opportunities.


Staying committed to benefits for all: The initiative pointed out that the principle of development is inclusive, stressing a focus on the special needs of developing countries and supporting developing countries, especially vulnerable countries with great difficulties, through debt relief, development assistance, and other means. Efforts should also be made to solve the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development among and within countries. In the face of the crisis, mankind must help one another, coexist in harmony, and move forward in the direction of building a community with a shared future for mankind. Emphasis on inclusiveness is not the substitution of one system for another, nor the substitution of one civilization for another, but rather the fact that countries with different social systems, different ideologies, different histories and cultures, and different levels of development are all involved in international affairs. The symbiosis of interests, the sharing of rights, and the sharing of responsibilities form the greatest common divisor for building a better world.


Providing a guide to action for promoting international development collaboration


The Global Development Initiative proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping has sent a clear signal of support for the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. China has taken initiatives and taken actions. In order to call on the international community to speed up the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, China has taken the lead, set an example, and has continuously put forward feasible Chinese solutions. The Global Development Initiative not only gathers international consensus but also promotes common actions, providing an action guide for advancing the cause of global development and international development collaboration.


Insist on the driving force of innovation. The initiative explains that the driving force for development comes from innovation and calls for seizing the historic opportunity of a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, accelerating the transformation of S&T achievements into real productive forces, and creating an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory technology development environment, tapping new momentum for post-pandemic economic growth and working together to achieve leapfrog development. The ancients of China emphasized that “the only way to advance is to be new with each passing day.” Innovation is a decisive factor in promoting economic and social development and coping with the common challenges of mankind. The new technology revolution represented by big data, the Internet of Things, AI, quantum information, and genetic technology is booming. On the one hand, it is conducive to enhancing the common wealth of mankind; on the other hand, while making the cake bigger, we must also find a better way to slice the cake. Only by taking care of the interests of all countries, especially emerging market countries and developing countries, can all mankind be able to benefit from technological innovation. China has already launched actions to promote the deep integration of digital technology with the real economy and help developing countries bridge the “digital divide” by proposing the Global Data Security Initiative.


Staying committed to harmony between man and nature: The initiative depicts the highlight of development as accelerating green and low-carbon transformation, calling for the improvement of global environmental governance, active response to climate change, and building a community of coexistence between man and nature. The Chinese nation has always attached great importance to the balanced relationship between production and nature. Even as early as the Qin Dynasty, China had formulated a law for the land. A good ecological environment is an inexhaustible source of sustainable development, and all countries in the world should take practical actions to keep safe borders for nature. China has been actively promoting the green transformation of its economy and has continuously improved its efforts to address climate change. In the past ten years, it has eliminated 120 million kilowatts of outdated installed capacity of coal power. It also promised not to build new overseas coal power projects and actively joins hands with other countries to take the road of green, low-carbon, and sustainable development.


Staying committed to results-oriented actions: The initiative summarizes the development focus on promoting cooperation in areas such as poverty reduction, food security, anti-epidemic and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy, and connectivity. The initiative calls for increased investment in development resources, accelerates the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and builds a community with a shared future for global development. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that international cooperation should “become an action team, not a talk shop.” In recent years, China has formulated action plans in areas such as sustainable development, green finance, improving energy efficiency, and fighting the pandemic and is committed to turning development consensus into practical actions. Taking international cooperation against the pandemic as an example, vaccines have been provided to many countries and international organizations. At the same time, the temporarily suspended construction projects along the Belt and Road have resumed work one after another, providing a strong boost for countries to overcome the pandemic and restore their economies.


An important public product and cooperation platform for the international community


At present, the global development process is under severe impact, and problems such as the gap between the North and the South, uneven recoveries, development faults, and technological gaps have become more prominent. The Human Development Index has dropped for the first time in 30 years. There are more than 100 million new impoverished people in the world, and nearly 800 million people are living in hunger. Food security, education, employment, medicine and health, and other areas of people’s livelihood are facing more difficulties. Some developing countries have returned to poverty and chaos due to the pandemic, and many people in developed countries have fallen into difficult living conditions. The international community is facing many challenges in implementing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative and called for “crossing the development gap and revitalizing the cause of global development,” which once again demonstrated that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order, and a provider of public goods.


The Global Development Initiative emphasizes adhering to the concept of giving priority to development and putting people at the center. Proposing cooperation ideas and programs is another important public product and cooperation platform that China provides to the international community. The initiative will focus on addressing imbalances in development among and within countries, will clarify goals, principles, and focus areas for global development, especially international development cooperation, and will promote the international community to jointly address challenges and seize opportunities.


The Global Development Initiative is open to the world, and all countries are welcome to participate. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized in his speech at the 2022 World Economic Forum video conference that this initiative is a public product open to the world, aiming to connect with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promote global common development. The initiative aims to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and synergize with existing initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. The initiative builds consensus through multilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the United Nations, the G20, and BRICS, as well as various regional and sub-regional platforms and is committed to promoting interconnection and common development, not only improving the level of independent industrialization of developing countries but also contributing to the growth of trade, investment, and employment in Western developed countries. At the same time, it will promote the export of advantageous production capacity, equipment, and technology in emerging market countries including China, promote a shift in the world economy from the virtual to the real and thus form a virtuous cycle of win-win cooperation and shared destiny the world over for all its people.


Since the Global Development Initiative was proposed, it has garnered a strong response from the international community. So far, dozens of countries and many international organizations have made clear statements, not only have developing countries actively supported and echoed the initiative, but many developed countries also welcome it and agree with the ideas and areas of cooperation proposed by the initiative. All parties generally believe that this major initiative will help garner global synergy, and the core concepts and specific measures it embodies demonstrate China’s moral strength and key role in today’s world. They are willing to carry out exchanges and cooperation with China to jointly promote the implementation of the initiative. UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke highly of the Global Development Initiative, believing that it is of great positive significance for promoting global equality and balanced and sustainable development, expressing that the United Nations fully supports the initiative and is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in this regard.


No matter the wind or the rain, humans must always move forward. The Global Development Initiative has drawn a beautiful blueprint for coping with the changing world. No matter what difficulties we encounter, we must adhere to the development philosophy of the primacy of people, follow the action guideline of pragmatic cooperation, advocating an open and inclusive partnership spirit, put the promotion of development and the protection of people’s livelihood in a prominent position in global macro policies, promote balanced global development, and contribute more Chinese spirit, Chinese wisdom, and Chinese strength to international development cooperation.


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Cite This Page

姚遥 (Yao Yao). "Global Development Initiative Provides a Blueprint for Responding to World Changes [“全球发展倡议”为因应世界变局擘画蓝图]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Red Flag Manuscript [红旗文稿], February 25, 2022

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