Endorsements stack up around globe as Davos economic meeting nears
President Xi Jinping’s call for building a community with a shared future for mankind continues to resonate with the world, as global politicians and business heavyweights gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this month to brainstorm how to build a “cohesive and sustainable world”.
Three years ago, Xi delivered a keynote speech at the Davos forum and called on the international community to jointly meet challenges and chart the right course for economic globalization to promote world development.
The day after the speech, he visited the United Nations Office in Geneva, where he explained his vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and his desire to achieve common and mutually beneficial development.
Xi’s Davos speech on Jan 17, 2017, “underscored China’s commitment to adapting to and guiding economic globalization”, said Stephen Roach, senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University, in an interview with China Daily.
The speech came at a time when the world was standing at a crossroad. A vigorous debate about the impact and future of globalization has emerged. The multilateral trading system, with World Trade Organization rules at its core, has been challenged by unilateralism, protectionism and populism.
China stood in sharp contrast with the United States, which subscribes to the notion that protectionism will lead to prosperity and strength, Roach said.
In an interdependent world increasingly linked by vast networks of global value chains — which provide enormous benefits to consumers and workers alike — any backlash against globalization will be a major setback for the world economy, he added.
In his keynote speech, Xi identified the crux of current social and economic problems, charted a path for global economic integration and envisioned a better tomorrow for all.
He suggested that countries should view their own interests in a broader, global context and refrain from pursuing them at the expense of others. He described the community with a shared future as an open, inclusive and beautiful one that fosters lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
However, Xi’s message was challenged by “the worrisome outbreak of protectionism over the past two years”, Roach said.
He listed a number of events arising from protectionism that are practiced by the US, including the escalation of tariffs, the blacklisting of individual companies such as Huawei, pressures on long-established supply chains as well as on its efforts to undermine the World Trade Organization, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the International Monetary Fund and other key institutional pillars of the multilateral global architecture.
In 2013, Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative — China’s solution to the fractured international situation and a blueprint for achieving mutually beneficial, win-win international cooperation. The initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and the world at large along, and beyond, the ancient Silk Road.
As of the end of October, China had signed 197 cooperation documents with at least 137 countries and 30 international organizations regarding joint efforts for the Belt and Road.
Through its impact on infrastructure investment, trade facilitation and pan-regional integration, the BRI certainly has the potential to boost global economic growth, Roach said.
Citing the World Bank’s 2019 report titled Belt and Road Economics, he said BRI transport projects have the potential to boost global trade by 1.7 percent to 6.2 percent and global real income by 0.7 percent to 2.9 percent. These estimates cover the period from 2018 to 2030 and translate into relative small annual average increments — a range of 0.1 to 0.5 percent on annual global trade growth and 0.06 percent to 0.2 percent on annual real global income growth.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a recent interview with Chinese media that Xi’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind rejects the estrangement brought by differences in social systems, development stages, ethnicities and religions, and provides the China solution to the problems the world is facing.
Xi’s vision continued to be influential at the 2018 WEF meeting themed “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, which revived the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind Xi had put forward in 2017, WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab told Xinhua News Agency. Schwab said Xi’s speech was “very important … and had brought us some sunshine” at a critical time.
This year’s WEF annual meeting, which runs from Tuesday to Friday, will develop the theme “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”. It will bring together more than 3,000 participants from around the world, with the aim of assisting governments and international institutions in tracking progress toward the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It will also host discussions on technology and trade governance.
In his UN speech in 2017, Xi called for joint efforts to implement the Paris Agreement; pursue green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable ways of life and production; and advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced manner. He pledged that China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and carry out its obligations.
Citing the November 2019 UN Emissions Gap Report, Roach said that with global warming exceeding the worst-case trajectory envisioned during the 2015 negotiations for the Paris agreement, sustainability considerations are critical for every economy in the world.
He praised China’s sustainability strategy as an example of global leadership that the rest of the world should consider seriously, as the country is starting to make good progress in bending the emissions curve by changing its economic model.
Faraji Kasidi Mnyepe, permanent secretary-general of Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, underlined China’s contributions toward providing international public benefits to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and said the BRI can help countries involved have better connectivity and sustainable growth and ultimately inject vitality into global development.
In recent years, Xi’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind has won international acclaim. In February 2017, the vision was incorporated into a UN resolution for the first time at the 55th Session of the UN Commission for Social Development. That same year it was recognized by the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council.
In an increasingly interdependent world, upholding the concept of a community with a shared future is important because it’s in the spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation and helps promote world peace and equality among countries, said Naomie Gray, assistant to Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Jean-Claude Ndenzako Karerwa, senior adviser and spokesman for the president of the Republic of Burundi, also commended the vision, saying it advocates for the common interests and values of all of humanity.
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