Sunday July 21, 2024

China’s global development initiative

By Shakeel Ahmad Ramay
January 04, 2022

President Xi at the 76th session of United Nations General Assembly announced the launch of Global Development Initiative (GDI). He proposed GDI by realizing the impacts of COVID-19, development needs of less developed countries and importance of green recovery amid the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change. President Xi Jinping tagged the goals of GDI with Sustainable Developments Goals. He assured the world that China will be working to assist global community and United Nations to achieve the SDGs till 2030 through the GDI. It is expected that GDI will help to mitigate in-equality and assist to realize the dream of development by adhering to the principles of ecological civilization.

China’s commitment to SDGs, UNs and global values is a sign of satisfaction for the aspirants of globalization on the basis of equality and respect. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also praised the initiative and assured that UN will be contributing to make GDI a success.

The analysis of the GDI shows that it is a well-designed initiative to cater for the most urgent needs of the world. The areas of cooperation or work are poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity. The selection of the areas of work shows that extensive efforts have been put to design the initiative. These are the areas, where the world is facing multifaceted challenges. For example, in 2019 the total population, which was living under poverty line of US$ 1.90 was 689 million. Now COVID-19 has given a new push to poverty across the world. World Bank report, Poverty and Shared Prosperity, has projected that 88 million to 115 million people will be added to extreme poverty (US$ 1.90) group. The South Asia would bear the brunt of poverty. It was estimated that 63 percent of these extreme poor will be from the South Asia. It is alarming that more than 97 million people have pushed into poverty.

Food in-security is another area, which is bothering the world for a long time and COVID-19 has further complicated the situation. According to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in World (SOFI) 720-811 million faced hunger in 2020. Developing regions and countries were major victim. The data shows that the major host of people with hunger were Africa with 46 million or more, Asia almost 57 million or more people, and Latin America and the Caribbean was hosting about 14 million or more people with hunger in 2020. The most shocking point was that almost 2.37 billion did not have access to adequate food. Healthy diet is another problem and SOFI pointed that about 3 billion were not getting healthy diets.

Third, Climate change is another threat to the humanity. It has put the whole planet on stake. Unfortunately, world today is unable to find a solution for it. The most disturbing point is that leading countries of the world are not contributing to tackle the issue. They are only pressurizing the developing and poor countries to do more. Although, developing world did not contributed much to climate change but still they are willing to contribute. However, to take concrete actions, they need financial support, which developed world is not ready to provide. For example, at Copenhagen they have committed to provide financial support of US$ 100 billion. They never fulfilled their commitment and provided very amount of financial support. Besides, the finance was mostly provided in the form of loans not grants. Oxfam in 2020 highlighted that from US$ 59.5 billion provided between 2017-2018, US$ 47 billion (80%) were loans. Moreover, half of the loans were at higher interest rates, which will further impact the poor countries. COP-26 also ended without any concrete action plan. However, now COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to world to reset the development agenda and growth path. World can opt to go for green recovery but again developing countries will be in need of assistance.

Fourth, connectivity and digital economy are also required extensive investment, especially in the post COVID-19. As, we know developing countries do not have resources to invest and they need assistance. Although, China is already trying to help the countries through the Blet and Road Initiative, but the needs of the world are much more. Thus, world needs new avenue of cooperation and investment.

In this desperate situation, President Xi Jinping has extended the hand of cooperation towards the world, especially for the developing and least developed countries. Thus, the Global Development Initiative by China is a sign of relief for the developing world. It is in line with Chinese philosophy of shared prosperity and win-win cooperation. GDI has also direct and deep relevance with Belt and Road Initiative of China. As, both initiatives have been dubbed as China’s contribution to global development, prosperity and humanity. GDI also has linkages with Six-100Programs under the South-South Cooperation, which is assisting developing countries.

Developing countries seems satisfied with the GDI because President Xi Jinping has always adopted a wise and rational policy to assist the developing world. For example, President Xi Jinping at APEC forum, emphasized the need for creating a balance between the green transition and living needs of people.

He said, “China will strike a balance between low-carbon transition and ensuring the living needs of its people, and between development and carbon reduction, and will achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality within the time frame we set”.

It is required because, neglecting livelihood needs of people will mean loss of social support, which is extremely essential for promoting green transition. The balance between green transition and living needs is a point, which developing world has always raised but the developed world did not give any head to it. Thus, the developing world expect that through the GDI, China will be translating vision of “balance green transition and living needs” by President Xi into reality.