Chinese envoy calls for multilateralism, cooperation for sustainable development


A Chinese envoy on Tuesday called for the promotion of multilateralism and international cooperation for the sake of sustainable development.

XinhuaUpdated: July 15, 2020

A Chinese envoy on Tuesday called for the promotion of multilateralism and international cooperation for the sake of sustainable development.

The world is undergoing major changes unseen in 100 years, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, told the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Globalization has contributed greatly to the development of the world economy and material prosperity. Scientific and technological progress has been pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and activity. The collective rise of emerging markets and developing countries has changed the international political and economic landscape. Meanwhile, unilateralism, bullying, protectionism and anti-globalization sentiments are eroding the very foundation of multilateralism and worsening the environment of international development cooperation. COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on economic and social development, said Zhang.

In the face of the grave and complex situation, it is more important than ever to achieve common development and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.

All parties should effectively combat COVID-19, promote sustainable and inclusive economic recovery and growth, and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with confidence, resolve and intensified efforts, he said.

Zhang asked for the strengthening of solidarity and cooperation to jointly tide over the difficulties.

As the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary, the international community should firmly uphold multilateralism, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, support the United Nations' central role in international affairs, and oppose all forms of unilateralism and protectionism, he said.

It has been proven that solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for humankind to tackle global challenges. There is no exception for implementing the 2030 Agenda. Countries need to work in solidarity toward a community with a shared future. That is the only way to overcome the difficulties and achieve common development, said Zhang.

He asked countries to prioritize development.

Development is the master key to solving all problems. The international community should prioritize development in global macroeconomic policy coordination, and increase investment in development to give sustained impetus to the cause of international development, he said.

"We must put people at the center of our efforts, and focus on major goals and targets of sustainable development, including poverty reduction, hunger eradication, health, education, employment and infrastructure, to ensure and enhance the well-being of the people. Special attention should be given to the difficulties and challenges of developing countries in the midst of COVID-19 to help them recover better and faster," Zhang said.

He said countries must remain committed to openness and inclusiveness to achieve win-win cooperation.

The international community should actively pursue an open world economy, uphold free trade and the multilateral trading system, and ensure the stability of the global industrial and supply chains, he said.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, countries should make joint efforts to reduce tariffs, remove barriers, and ensure unimpeded trade so as to boost confidence in economic recovery, he said.

"We should follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, strive to improve global governance, and increase the representation and voice of developing countries, so as to create a favorable external environment for developing countries."

Zhang asked for strengthened partnerships for common development.

Countries should continue to strengthen international development cooperation with North-South cooperation as the main channel, which is to be complemented by South-South cooperation. Developed countries should honor their official development aid commitments, provide technology and capacity-building assistance to developing countries, support them in pursuing development paths right for their own national conditions to achieve self-development, he said.

The international community, particularly developed countries and multilateral financial institutions, should take strong actions on debt relief, an issue of major concern for developing countries, said Zhang.

Thanks to a people-centered approach, China has been making enormous efforts and progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This year, China will lift all its rural poor out of poverty, achieve moderate prosperity, and meet the goals and targets of poverty reduction in the 2030 Agenda 10 years ahead of schedule, he said.

Since the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, China has been sparing no effort in saving lives and protecting people's health and has achieved good results so far. Having brought the outbreak under control, China is working hard to promote recovery, minimize the impact, and attain its poverty reduction targets as scheduled, he said.

The stable recovery of the Chinese economy will continue to inject impetus to the world economy and bring opportunities to the development of other countries, said Zhang.

China is actively engaged in international cooperation to help countries respond and recover from COVID-19. China has announced that it will provide 2 billion U.S. dollars in international aid over two years; that a Chinese vaccine, once available, will serve as a global public good and benefit Africa first; that China will work with other Group of 20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries and calls for further extension of debt relief; that China will cancel interest-free government loans owed by African countries that will mature by the end of 2020.

"China is playing a responsible and constructive role with concrete actions," he said.

Zhang asked countries to uphold multilateralism, translate commitments into action, enable initiatives to bear fruits in order to build a better future and a better world shared by all.