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The Global Times published a special article by Prof. Yonglong Lu

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI) at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2021, calling for staying committed to development as a priority, to a people-centered approach, to benefits for all, to innovation-driven development, to harmony between man and nature, and to results-oriented actions.

He also put forward cooperation proposals and plans in eight key areas, including poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy, and connectivity.

The GDI has set up well-defined goals, principles and key areas for global development and international cooperation in the currently divided world. It prioritizes human welfare, inclusive development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and a harmonious coexistence, which are of great concern globally. This will help further build consensus among all parties and promote the international community to jointly address global challenges and accelerate the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN 2030 Agenda for short hereafter).

The GDI aims to establish a global community of development, implement the UN 2030 Agenda, and promote global common development. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, regional conflicts, energy and food shortages, and frequent natural disasters caused by climate change in the past few years, human development is facing continuous decline. There is an urgent need to strengthen communication, understanding and cooperation among countries and regions. The GDI aims to promote solidarity and cooperation of all countries and regions, unite all mankind through effective cooperation mechanisms, and promote the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets of the UN 2030 Agenda with new perspectives, new methods and new patterns.

The main pathway to implement the UN 2030 Agenda is through global transformation toward sustainable development. The GDI will help promote a major transformation of the global development governance system. With development as a priority, the GDI is committed to bridging the gap between the North and the South, emphasizing the principle of fair and equitable development, and making it clear that no country or individual will be left behind. In the meantime, the core principle of the UN 2030 Agenda is "Leaving no one behind." In this sense, the two share a highly consistent theme. The GDI adheres to the new development concepts of innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing. This is highly consistent with the five main mechanisms for the delivery of the SDGs, which emphasize technology facilitation mechanisms, goal trade-off and coordination, social-economic-environmental linkage, open knowledge platforms and partnerships. In the context of global change, the GDI aims to ensure the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda by reactivating and strengthening international development cooperation, and promoting the drawing of a long-term roadmap for global sustainable development.

As a member of the UN Secretary General's 10-Member Group of Technology Facilitation Mechanism for SDGs, I have been involved in the scientific review of the SDGs before the UN 2030 Agenda was officially launched. I have also participated in high-level expert consultations on how to promote the implementation of the SDGs with science, technology and innovation. I deeply understand that in recent years, the United Nations has paid great attention to key issues such as poverty alleviation, food security, water and energy resource shortages, climate change, digital divide, vaccines and pandemic response, urbanization and equitable development.

The GDI adheres to a people-centered approach and focuses on maintaining cooperation in the fields of human livelihood and well-being, such as poverty alleviation, food security, clean energy, pandemic response, and vaccines. A series of actions have been put forward including the establishment of the Global Poverty Alleviation and Development Partnership Alliance, the launch of the "promotion of food production special action," the promotion of the establishment of a global clean energy partnership, the establishment of the world digital education alliance, the founding of the international vaccine innovation and R&D cooperation alliance, the formation of a global sustainable forest management network, the hosting of international forums on global development, and the provision of 100,000 places for research and seminars to developing countries.

These actions have effectively promoted the international community to re-emphasize development issues, helped solve the problem of unbalanced development, provided new ideas and inspirations for countries to formulate sustainable development policies and plans, and contributed Chinese wisdom and solutions to the realization of the UN 2030 Agenda as scheduled.

As the world's largest developing country and the second-largest economy, China's implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda is not only a national development strategy, but also a major opportunity to share China's sustainable development model with the world. To accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in China, China started to develop Innovation Demonstration Zones on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, giving full play to the supporting and leading role of scientific and technological innovation in sustainable development. Under the themes of transformation of resource-dependent region, development of highly rapid growth cities, rural revitalization and ecological construction and sustainable utilization of landscape resources, 11 national innovation-driven demonstration zones for implementing the UN 2030 Agenda, such as Taiyuan, Shenzhen, Huzhou and Guilin, were officially launched to set up a batch of examples of sustainable development that can be replicated and expanded. By deepening cooperation with the UN and making full use of the Belt and Road Initiative and the G20 international development coordination and communication platform, we can provide not only a sustainable development model with human-nature harmony for developing countries that need to accelerate economic development, but also environment-friendly development that opens pathways for developed countries. China can play a greater exemplary role in the global effort to implement the SDGs by sharing Chinese experiences and good practices.

In the face of profound changes unseen in a century, and major global challenges to sustainable development such as climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution, no country can deal with it alone or be immune. Only by strengthening cooperation and responding together can we find systematic solutions to these global challenges. The GDI seeks to promote international cooperation among countries on expanding project financing, protecting the environment and addressing climate change. It has made important contributions to addressing common challenges and accelerating the building of a sustainable future with harmony between man and nature, and it will have a profound impact on the delivery of the SDGs, the promotion of world peace and development, and the enhancement of human well-being.

The author is Chair Professor of Xiamen University, TWAS Fellow, Member of UN Secretary General’s 10-Member Group for SDGs. opinion@globatimes.com.cn

Link: https://enapp.globaltimes.cn/article/1293185