President Xi’s speech at the UN General Assembly highlighted that China is committed to development for all. It has sown the seeds of hope that the emerging great power believes in common development. President Xi unambiguously said that the values of humanity and dignity and honor of every individual and country should be respected, irrespective of their development status. He was crystal clear that the world needs cooperation. There is a need to build bridges, not walls. The challenges which the world is facing does not offer luxury to pursue a country first policy since such an approach will be disastrous. It will ensure failure for everyone, irrespective of their strengths or capabilities. The only way out from the present challenges is cooperation based on the principle of win-win cooperation.
President Xi started his speech by reminding the world of its’ commitments to fight challenges together at the 75th UN session. This is not an option, but a necessity of the time to ensure the peaceful coexistence and common future of present and future generations. There should be strong mechanisms to fight COVID-19 and to secure a peaceful future. The world needs to adopt the policy of people and people’s life first, not country first. We need to focus on science-based solutions and follow scientific guidelines to defeat the pandemic.
President Xi urged the world community to declare the vaccine as a global good and to ensure availability without any discrimination. He shared that China would provide 2 billion doses of vaccine to countries all over the world. China will also contribute US$ 100 billion in COVAX and donate 100 million doses to poor countries. President Xi stressed the need for development initiatives and assistance to combat the impact of COVID-19. He proposed to establish the Global Development Initiative, with a special focus on the development needs of developing and poor countries.
President Xi advocated for people centric development. He said, “make sure that development is for the people and by the people, and that its fruits are shared among the people”. He stressed that the world should strive for development, which ensured decent livelihood to everyone without any discrimination. The implementation of Sustainable Development Goals of UN must be prioritized and implemented with the true spirit of SDGs. The implementation must be assisted by cooperation from the developed countries with the principle of equality and respect. He raised voice for the less developed countries and asked the developed world to draft special programs according to the needs of poor countries. Developed countries should also look for the option of suspension of debt or to provide development aid.
President Xi dedicated a section of his speech to the importance of innovation-based growth and development. He deemed it necessary to fight back the existential threats of climate change, impacts of COVID-19 and the securing of the future of planet. There is a need to invest in technology development and innovative solutions. However, the technology advancement should not be used as a tool to enhance dominance; rather, the world needs to work on equitable access to technology and solutions. The technology must be used to enhance the productivity, well-being of people and to secure a healthy planet.
Environment and climate change are prime areas of interest of the President who never lets any opportunity to highlight the importance of environment and climate change. He emphasized that there is a need to create harmony between human beings and nature through global partnership. He assured the world that China will do everything to contribute to this fight against climate change. China will achieve carbon emission peek before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. The commitments may seem unrealistic or over ambitious. However, the statement of President Xi can be qualified from the actions taken at home.
China has already launched multiple initiatives to combat the challenge of climate change and to promote harmony between nature and human beings. The concept of high-quality development, new philosophy of development and Vision 2035 provides the policy guidelines to ensure harmony and combat climate change. The 14th Five-Year Development Plan provides concrete targets to move on the path of sustainable development. The plan states that the carbon intensity will be decreased by 18 percent till 2025. Energy intensity will be brought down by the factor of 13.5 percent. Resources productivity will be enhanced by 20 precent till 2025. China had also made it part of the plan that the recycling industry will be encouraged to achieve the target of US$ 773 billion worth till 2025. China is also replicating the same spirit at global level. It has increased investment in green technology and initiatives in recent year. The data analysis of Belt and Road Initiative investment shows that in 2020, 58.8 percent of total investment was on renewable energy under the BRI. Now President Xi has announced that China will not build or invest on coal power plants abroad.
President Xi underscored the significance of dignity and respect for everyone. He advocated for the enhanced role of developing and poor countries in global decision making. He opposed outside intervention in any country and asked the world to respect the sovereignty of countries. He called for the recognition of common values including peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom. He retreated the importance of win-win cooperation by highlighting that planet has enough resources to meet the needs of all. It is time to say goodbye to the policy of country first and look for avenues to enhance the win-win cooperation.
The President also stressed the role and importance of the United Nations and international law for a prosperous world. He advocated for a central role of UN for ensuring security, development, and human rights. UN should steer the future course and all countries should work under the banner of UN in a collaborative manner.
President Xi concluded his speech by assuring the world that China will never bully anyone, nor would they attack anyone. China will never try to become hegemonic. China will work with all countries by adhering to principles of mutual respect and win-win cooperation. China will join hands with world to achieve the goal of community with shared future.
In a nutshell, President Xi’s speech was a blueprint of his vision of “community with shared future”. President Xi believes that the goal of community with shared future can only be achieved through dialogue, development, mutual respect, and cooperation. Thus, there is a need to promote dialogue and inclusiveness over confrontation and exclusion. Dialogue and inclusiveness are the need of the time to combat challenges.
The writer is CEO, Asian Institute of Eco-Civilization Research and Development.