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China's Foreign Ministry Building

Press Statement of the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative

The Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) was held under the theme “Deepen GDI Cooperation for Accelerated Implementation of the 2030 Agenda” in New York on 20 September 2022. The meeting was chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China, and attended by high-level representatives of 60 countries, including 4 Deputy Prime Ministers and more than 30 Foreign Ministers as well as principals of about ten international organizations and UN entities including UNDESA, UN-OHRLLS, UNDP, FAO, UNESCO, IMO, IRENA, and Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Africa. UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a video message and Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the positive progress made since the GDI was proposed, particularly after the High-level Dialogue on Global Development held on 24 June 2022. The participants had an in-depth exchange of views on deepening practical cooperation in various priority areas of the GDI, accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, promoting institutional arrangements of the Group, and strengthening cooperation with the UN development system aligned with national priorities and needs. They discussed the way forward for GDI cooperation and reached broad consensus.

I. Summary of the Opening Session

In his statement, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that President Xi Jinping chaired the High-level Dialogue on Global Development in June, at which the participating leaders jointly put development front and centre again on the international agenda. Over the past year, thanks to the active support and participation of all parties, and especially with the impetus provided by the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, the GDI has entered a new phase of practical cooperation. Wang Yi stressed that China stands ready to strengthen strategic alignment with all members of the Group of Friends of the GDI and all other parties, center on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, work together with the UN development system, focus on concrete projects by making good use of the newly upgraded Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund while pooling resources from all parties, continuously enrich and improve the GDI project pool, and carry out policy dialogue, experience sharing, capacity building and practical cooperation in the eight GDI priority areas. Wang Yi pointed out the need to work on institutional arrangements of the Group, and make good use of the public good and cooperation platforms provided by the GDI to better meet the development needs of different regions and countries in various special situations. Wang Yi indicated China’s appreciation for the active support of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for GDI, and encouraged the UN development agencies to participate in GDI cooperation as important partners, fostering synergy between their strategic plans and GDI cooperation, and carrying out cooperation in GDI priority areas to support the Group members in implementing the 2030 Agenda with international development resources including funds provided by China. Wang Yi stressed that as an open and inclusive partnership, GDI welcomes the participation of the developed countries in GDI projects to deliver on their ODA commitments.

Secretary-General António Guterres stated at the meeting that last year, President Xi proposed the GDI to help revive global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The holistic Global Development Initiative is a valued contribution to addressing the common challenges and accelerating the transition to our sustainable and inclusive future.  UN Secretary-General urged all to work together to put the SDGs back on track for the well-being of this and future generations and the planet on which we all depend.

On behalf of the Chinese Government, Wang Yi presented to UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed six global data products for sustainable development, focusing on food security, climate change and sustainable cities and communities, with a view to providing support for science-based decision-making in attaining relevant SDGs. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed expressed gratitude on behalf of the UN side for the contribution of China.

II. Implementation Progress of the GDI

At the meeting, China introduced the substantial progress made since the GDI was proposed one year ago, in particular the High-level Dialogue on Global Development that had further consolidated the global consensus on development and charted the course forward for GDI cooperation, by announcing 32 practical cooperation measures. Heads of China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and National Energy Administration of China introduced respectively the progress in advancing the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, setting up a project pool, promoting global clean energy transition and other related outcomes of the Dialogue.

The participants spoke highly of the positive role of the GDI in building consensus, boosting cooperation and pooling resources of international development. They commended the 32 practical cooperation measures announced at the High-level Dialogue on Global Development and their progress, including upgrading South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund into the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, with additional funding of 1 billion US dollars on top of the existing 3 billion, and announcing the readiness to enhance support for the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund. They appreciated China’s efforts to take the GDI to a new stage of practical cooperation, and expected the GDI to enhance synergies with other initiatives in supporting the acceleration of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which has been largely impacted by the current global multifaceted crisis. They are also committed to promote exchange of best practices and experience regarding home-grown and locally driven development approaches.

III. Discussions at the Meeting

The participants recognized the GDI is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and promotes Sustainable Development Goals. They expressed deep concern over the severe challenges facing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and called for greater attention to poverty eradication and the need to improve global governing bodies in this regard. They recognized the value of close coordination between the GDI and relevant UN bodies in addressing the poverty challenge and advancing the SDGs. They are open to further discussion for encouraging UN Secretary-General António Guterres to nominate a special envoy for poverty eradication, in order to coordinate and boost global poverty eradication cooperation and post-pandemic recovery.

The participants expressed deep concern over issues such as the current state of food insecurity, the challenges to energy access, the consequences and socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the adverse impacts of climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss and pollution, as well as the negative impact of unilateral coercive measure that are not in accordance with international law and the UN Charter. The Group is ready to strengthen communication and cooperation with the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) led by the UN Secretary-General, and encouraged Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to play a positive role in taking part in GDI cooperation on food security. The Group supported the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate actively in GDI action to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response and vaccines cooperation to further enhance global capacity to tackle public health crisis.

The participants reaffirmed their commitment to fully and effectively implement the Paris Agreement. The Group encouraged the secretariat of  UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to play a greater role in GDI cooperation to tackle climate change and promote sustainable development. They urged developed countries to fulfill their climate financing commitments of USD 100 billion per year. They expressed support for the Global Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility to make more effective use of resources, and help developing countries make sustainable transitions and promote climate adaptation and mitigation for achieving sustainable development, based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The Group noted that lack of energy access remained a challenge for developing countries and that sustainable and resilient development would be unachievable without universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. They encouraged the UN to engage with Member States in implementing SDG7 in a comprehensive and evidence-based manner.

The participants stressed the importance of promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and diversification of production for developing countries, and called for assistance to developing countries in formulating industrialization strategies suited to their national conditions and in line with national priorities. They expressed support for the Partnership for New Industrial Revolution and promoting Africa’s industrialization process. The Group encouraged UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to cooperate in the area of industrialization of the GDI, and help developing countries advance sustainable and environmentally sound, inclusive and digitally empowered industrialization.

The participants expressed deep concern over the huge gap in international development assistance resources and invited developed countries to strengthen communication with the Group, and better align their official development assistance with the needs of developing countries. They encouraged multilateral development institutions to provide more resources to developing countries for their domestic development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They urged multilateral development institutions to continue working closely with other development partners and stakeholders to address the challenges facing developing countries in a sustainable manner. They also highlighted the importance of both strengthening and expanding South-South cooperation.

The participants stressed the need to overcome the disruption of industrial and supply chains caused by the pandemic and geopolitical factors. They committed themselves to strengthening regional and cross-regional economic integration and connectivity, especially through applying digital and big data technologies, enhancing digital empowerment, strengthening digital-era connectivity, building long-term scientific and cultural relations, stepping up knowledge sharing, and enhancing development policy exchanges and people-to-people exchanges.

Participants recognized the importance for the GDI to remain open and inclusive in order to function effectively and to leave no one behind, and invite other countries and international organizations, including developed countries, to participate in the GDI cooperation. They also welcomed relevant think tanks, enterprises, multilateral development agencies, and civil society to participate in the GDI process and pool efforts for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Group stressed that the UN development agencies are important partners in GDI cooperation, and wish to further explore the idea for  Secretary-General António Guterres to establish a task force on the promotion of the GDI composed of principals of UN development agencies and experts in relevant fields as soon as possible, to strengthen policy dialogues and strategic alignment between the Group and the UN development agencies, work on details of cooperation, mobilize resources to carry out tripartite and multiparty cooperation in priority areas of the GDI, and contribute to the development of countries, regions and sub-regions as well as groups of countries.

The Group members agreed to actively promote institutional building of the Group, including identifying regional coordinators and lead countries of priority areas of the GDI at appropriate time. They also agreed to strengthen communication and cooperation with other Groups of Friends committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, so as to better form synergies at the UN and serve the full, effective and timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda and development needs of the Group members.

The participants expressed full solidarity and support to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the massive scale of destruction and huge loss of life, property, infrastructure, livestock and livelihoods caused by unprecedented floods, triggered by heavy monsoon rains, reflecting the adverse impact of climate change. They recognized the urgency of undertaking an extensive rescue and relief operation and support the Government of Pakistan’s efforts for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. They urged the international community, in particular donor countries, international financial institutions and relevant international organizations, as well as the private sector and civil society to extend full support and assistance to the Government of Pakistan in mobilizing necessary financial resources.

IV. Practical cooperation measures proposed at the Meeting

China announced the following practical measures to be taken going forward together with international partners to implement the outcomes of the High-level Dialogue on Global Development and GDI cooperation.

i. Release the first batch of projects of the GDI project pool and promote their implementation to provide examples of GDI cooperation.

ii. Deepen agricultural technical cooperation, promote the transformation of the food system, and achieve green and sustainable development of agriculture and the rural areas. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals will respectively explore the signing of cooperation agreements with FAO in the fields of digital and innovative rural finance, agricultural information, plant and animal disease control, sustainable soil and water management and rice genetics breeding as well as big data in support of sustainable agriculture.

iii. Release the Concept Note on the Global Clean Energy Cooperation Partnership, intensify cooperation with IRENA and other international organizations, and support countries in promoting energy access and clean energy transition.

iv. Release the Concept Note on the Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity Cooperation, expand exchanges and cooperation on the “Smart” mechanism with international organizations such as the World Customs Organization and customs of all countries (regions) to jointly promote connectivity in global supply chains.

v. Initiate the World Digital Education Alliance, strengthen cooperation in digital education, optimize allocation of education resources by digitization, and help developing countries achieve SDG4.

vi. Implement the “Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic” Initiative, jointly start formulating the Global Action Plan of the Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic with International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), and work with all parties to address global plastic pollution. 

vii. Make available globally the data acquired by the Sustainable Development Science Satellite (SDGSAT-1) launched by China, providing support to science-based decision-making for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. At the meeting, the Chinese side also released the Report on Big Earth Data in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals (2022).

V. The participants thanked China for hosting the Ministerial Meeting and expressed appreciation for China’s effort in releasing the first batch of projects of the GDI project pool and the concept papers on certain practical measures announced at the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, as well as for China’s further announcement of cooperation measures. The participants expressed readiness to take active part in relevant cooperation, and looked forward to UN development agencies’ effort to step up communication with the Group, and lend fresh impetus to the attainment of SDGs through GDI cooperation.

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