By Allawi Ssemanda.
Noting that the world was faced with unprecedented historic challenges partly occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, in order the world to make a comeback, Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed to the Global leaders attending United Nations General Assembly’s 76th session what he described as Global Development Initiative listing six key areas.
Firstly, president Xi suggested that the world stay committed to development as a priority by ensuring unhindered global development partnership which are equal and balanced, policy coordination and forge greater synergy among multilateral development cooperation processes. It can be argued that this is a timely call for if done, it will help the world realise United Nations agenda 2030 of ensuring sustainable development for all.
Secondly, president Xi proposed the world stay committed and support a people-centered approach. He reasoned that such approach will help to safeguard and improve people’s livelihoods and protect and promote human rights. He explained that this can be achieved through development by ensuring that developments undertaken by governments are meant for the people and by the people, and that its fruits are shared among the people or citizens. This approach if embraced will help reduce income inequality levels and hence, create a society of shared prosperity and hence, the world including developed countries will have a population with “a greater sense of happiness, benefit and security, and achieve well-rounded development” for humanity.
Thirdly, President Xi proposed the world stay committed to benefits for all, stressing that it is humane and indeed in a spirit of togetherness and shared prosperity that world leaders ensure they care about the needs of developing countries. This can be achieved through interventions such as debt suspension and extension of development aid especially to countries facing development challenges. Such a call coming at a time when countries economic curves are slowing down due to what IMF called the world’s greatest lockdown, will help world’s developing economies to re-emerge.
The Chinese leader further proposed that world leaders remain committed to innovation-driven and development. This is a timely call because, if the world seizes opportunities created by latest technological advancement and industrial revolution, this in the long run will boost productivity and its associated spill overs. Already, in developing countries there are new innovations such as production of medical supplies that were a “reserve” of advanced countries before Covid-19 pandemic. Supporting such innovations will not only help in creating livelihood opportunities but also help to boost people’s incomes.
President Xi further proposed to world leaders to remain committed and ensure there is harmony between man and nature. He reasoned that this way, the world would ensure improved global environmental governance while actively responding the challenge of climate change. He announced to increase support Beijing has been giving to developing countries in developing green and low-cardon energy and that “China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.” Arguably, this proposal is not just about today but also generations to come. Today, the world is grappling with climate change related challenges and any positive idea meant to reverse these challenges must be embraced.
In August this year, a report compiled by 234 experts from 66 countries under the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report showing how the world is under threat due to climate change; “The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years,” and warned that as a result of climate change, earth’s average surface temperatures are rising and are projected it to reach 1.5C (2.7F) which is about 1.6C (2.9F) much above pre-industrial levels of around 2030 in all five of the greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.This projection is almost 10 years earlier than what IPCC predicted less than three years ago. Therefore, a proposal world leader to address challenges caused by climate change is a step forward and should be lauded.
The above assertions are based on the fact that climate change is occasioned by unfriendly human activities to environment does not only cause global warming but is also a threat likely to cause human extinction and suffering of mankind. In his book entitled Spike: The Virus Vs The People – The Inside Story Sir, Professor Jerremy Farrar a renowned scientist argues that unregulated human activities can also contribute to outbreak of pandemics like Covid-19. He contends that the most likely cause of future outbreaks is human activities, such as wildlife trade, deforestation, mining and other forms of land clearance explaining that as wildlife and vegetation are destroyed, several species of viruses and the bacteria they host are set loose to seek new hosts; and the only available options are domestic livestock and humans. With such knowledge at hand, it can be argued that president Xi’s proposed areas that require global leaders’ response are spot-on!
The proposal calling upon world leaders to stay committed to results-oriented actions by offering more support to developing countries in areas of poverty alleviation, food security, and industrialization will help developing countries to stand again from negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic and in the long run support economic development in developing countries. World Bank and International Monetary Fund experts have on several occasions highlighted the need for developed countries to support developing countries to emerge from economic meltdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, making a call in that direction and pledging “additional three billion U.S dollars of international assistance in the next three years to support developing countries in responding to COVID-19 and promoting economic and social recovery” by China is a welcome development.
President Xi’s speech further emphasized that China is interested in what can be described as an Era of rentless diplomacy, and that seeking multilateral global engagement is way to go. From the speech, it is clear that Beijing regarded diplomacy as regarded dialogue as the most useful form of diplomacy stressing that; “Chinese people have always celebrated and striven to pursue the vision of peace, amity and harmony. China has never and will never invade or bully others, or seek hegemony. China is always a builder of world peace, contributor to global development, defender of the international order and provider of public goods.” Such commitment at a time when the world is grappled with challenges of prolonged wars is a positive step that must be emulated and welcomed.
As Xi observed, “differences and problems among countries, hardly avoidable, need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect. One country’s success does not have to mean another country’s failure, and the world is big enough to accommodate common development and progress of all countries.” Arguably, this is the reason diplomacy and international relations exist and the very reason of current global order of mutual respect irrespective of the country’s size or strength which is a pillar of United Nations Charter.