China has proposed global goals for improving the process of global development amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening of the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly in September 2021, China’s Global Development Initiative (GDI) has support from nearly 100 countries and international organizations. Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations has emphasized that the initiative is just one action of many that will accelerate the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has ambitious goals of eradicating poverty and hunger everywhere, combating inequalities, building inclusive societies, promoting human and gender equality and more by 2030. While these goals are hefty and require immense work, China’s Global Development Initiative is opening doors for the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda to become a reality.
In China’s initiative, the goals of “re-prioritizing development, renewing commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), revitalizing global partnerships and reactivating development cooperation” are consistent with the U.N.’s Agenda. Many working with the U.N. greatly support China’s goals. For example, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has remarked that China’s Global Development Initiative will keep the U.N. 2030 Agenda’s pledge of leaving no one behind.
What is China’s GDI?
As with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development agenda, China’s Global Development Initiative involves international cooperation and efforts to support less developed countries, especially those the pandemic hit particularly hard. For example, the initiative’s goals could include alleviating poverty, managing food security, aiding COVID-19 support, financial development, green development and more.
To make the goals successful, the GDI will work with other organizations and countries to build a community-based network to assist struggling countries. Building strong networks will allow the performance and value of countries to flourish. The organization is only beginning to develop plans of synergy and a strong global community to assist fellow countries.
COVID-19 has been the source of tremendous hardship and struggles for many people globally. The World Bank Blog has reported that a 2015-2021 figure of projected poverty in 2021 was estimated to be 613 million pre-COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, that projection has spiked to 711 million people estimated to live in poverty for the same year. That is 98 million more people who could experience poverty as a result of the pandemic.
Numbers in relation to poverty in lower-income countries may see a reduction with help from the GDI, which some have dubbed “China’s contribution to global development, prosperity and humanity.”
Support From UNIDO
One of the organizations supporting the GDI is the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). China has already made connections with UNIDO regarding the initiative. Cooperating with the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) developed in 2018, UNIDO’s work with CIDCA would serve as the intent to promote aid to developing countries.
Both organizations see promise in the partnership in support of China’s Global Development Initiative, with the Chairman of CIDCA, Luo Zhaohui, noting that he looks forward to “developing concrete projects together.”
UNIDO’s director-general Gerd Muller commented that the initiative “is in line with UNIDO’s mission to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development.” UNIDO and China’s Global Development Initiative share similar goals for global community development and both strive toward supporting fellow countries financially.
While to some, the objectives laid out by the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda may seem far-fetched, those working alongside China’s Global Development Initiative believe otherwise. There is hope and promise for those struggling against poverty and hunger and officials around the world are banning together to fight against these issues with tangible optimism.
– Michelanie Allcock