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Vision of building a community with shared future for mankind guides global development

Four years ago, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech titled “Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind” at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. His vision has drawn extensive attention from the international community. Throughout these four years, faced with unilateralism, protectionism, and hegemonism, and especially in the struggle against COVID-19 in 2020, all countries have become more aware of the importance of creating a community of shared future for mankind.

Development is at the root of various global issues that resulted from economic globalization. Only by achieving common development can we ensure the basic rights of the people of all countries, fulfill the desires of all peoples for a better life, and become equal members of the international community. Until then, we must uphold the idea of building a community with shared future for mankind, strengthen the cooperation and coordination between nations, and jointly build an open development platform.

COVID-19 Pandemic Intensified Outstanding Contradictions in Global Economic Development

In recent years, world economic growth was weak, and gaps between the rich and the poor and the South and the North enlarged. President Xi pointed out three critical issues as the root causes at the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Economic Forum, namely lack of robust driving forces for global growth, inadequate global economic governance, and uneven global development. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the worst condition of the world economy since the Great Depression. The mission to achieve mutual development became more and more urgent.

The global economy lacks drivers of growth. According to the “Global Economic Prospects” released by the World Bank in January 2021, the world economy declined by 4.3% in 2020, and the growth rate dropped by 6.6% over the previous year. At the same time, developed economies shrank by 5.4% with the growth rate decreasing by 7% compared to the previous year. The growth rate of emerging markets and developing economies decreased by 6.2% from the year before. The pandemic not only caused a short-term economic recession, but also increased the risk of a long-term downturn in the global economy. Although many estimated that the global economy will welcome a sharp rebound in 2021, it still faces various uncertainties in the short term. Plus, with many limiting factors, it is very difficult to liven up potentials in technological progress as well as reform and innovation, and better the division of labor based on specialization

Global economic governance lags seriously. For a long time, the global governance system has failed to reflect the new pattern of international economic power balance. The voice of emerging markets and developing countries have been drastically neglected, resulting in the lack of vitality and motivation in global economic governance. Since the pandemic outbreak, whether in trade, investment, or finance, traditional rules have not been able to meet new demands and deal with new economic risks. Under the influence of certain countries, the problem of global economic governance became more prominent. The global multilateral trading system has encountered unprecedented challenges, and global economic governance mechanisms such as G20 have failed to give full play to their due cooperation functions.

Global development became more unbalanced. The pandemic affected people’s incomes in various countries, but the different impacts on different countries and groups have accelerated the imbalanced distribution of global wealth. In December 2020, the “Global Wage Report 2020-21” released by the International Labor Organization showed that the average wage of all groups in the first half of 2020 decreased by 6.5%, and the wages of the lowest 50% workers decreased by 17.3%. This suggests that the pandemic has brought more severe impacts on low-income workers.

Steer Global Development with the Vision of Building a Community with Shared Future for Mankind

In some countries and regions, and under certain conditions, rules such as the law of the jungle, winner takes all, and zero-sum game are still in play, while gaps between the rich and the poor and the South and the North increase. Poverty, hunger, diseases, and social conflicts keep disrupting human society. Especially under the impact of the pandemic, global wealth and development gaps enlarged, which contradicts the vision of building a community with shared future for mankind. However, the pandemic has brought people from all countries together to join hands and fight the virus. The international community has realized that solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons to defeat the virus. Likewise, in the face of increasing development issues, only under the guidance of the vision of building a community with shared future for mankind can we grasp the direction of global development.

On one hand, we must build a new type of global development partnership that is more equal and balanced. In 2014, President Xi pointed out that China should call for building a community with shared future for mankind, pursing common development of all countries and expanding common interests while pursuing their own development. A new type of global development partnership is based on equal rights and balanced responsibilities. For developed countries, their responsibility and obligation are to help developing countries and narrow the gap between the North and the South. Meanwhile, developing countries should promote their own development capabilities and take corresponding responsibilities and obligations.

On the other hand, we must build an inclusive and invigorated pattern of global development governance. In September 2016, President Xi proposed at the G20 Summit that we should jointly facilitate an inclusive and interconnected pattern of global development governance to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and jointly advance the well-being of mankind. At present, countries should rise above differences and divergences, give full play to their respective advantages, reduce global development imbalances, and promote economic globalization to become more open, inclusive, and balanced.

China’s Practice Provides Strong, Sustained Impetus to Global Development

The vision of building a community with shared future for mankind eliminates the boundaries of nations and states, viewing the entire mankind as an organic whole. It is China’s solution to the various global challenges facing the world today. As the largest developing country in the world, China’s development provides valuable experience to the world.

In terms of development concept, China advocates and practices the new development concept which is innovative, coordinative, green, open, and shared, and regards shared development as the ultimate goal of development. Shared development is to promote the concept of sharing in the process of economic and social development and gain benefits for people in the fields of politics, economy, society, culture, and ecology. It also means to gradually transfer from unbalanced to balanced development, so that all people can gain from development and move towards common prosperity.

Domestically, China made great achievements in poverty alleviation and thereby contributed global poverty reduction. In 2012, China launched its all-round battle against poverty based on previous achievements in poverty alleviation. After eight years of efforts, China lifted all counties out of poverty in 2020, which has benefited nearly 100 million rural people. China achieved the target of poverty alleviation ahead of schedule, greatly boosted global confidence, and contributed Chinese wisdom and strength to global poverty reduction and development.

In terms of international cooperation, China has stayed committed to achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration and promoted high-quality development with the “Belt and Road” Initiative. So far, China has signed 204 cooperation documents with 140 countries and 31 international organizations. Even when the pandemic was severely impacting the global economy, China’s international cooperation didn’t stop. In January 2021, according to China’s General Administration of Customs, China’s imports and exports to “Belt and Road” countries reached 9.37 trillion yuan in 2020, an increase of 1%. Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed that China’s non-financial direct investment in these countries reached 15.96 billion U.S. dollars from January to November 2020, increased by 24.9% year-on-year. These results show that the “Belt and Road” Initiative is a diverse, open, effective, and results-oriented global development partnership and also an important driving force for common global development.

Contributed by Xu Xiujun, Deputy director of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Deputy Secretary-general of China’s Society of Emerging Economies

Translated by Ren Meiqi

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]