The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) co-hosted a two-day global forum alongside CGTN Think Tank and a number of other partners. 140 speakers from 39 countries shared their views on the unprecedented success of China’s efforts to reduce poverty, and explored ways to facilitate the global achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Participants agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic is a major crisis for the whole of humanity, and also the most urgent challenge to the global cause of reducing poverty. In the face of such global crises, people have become increasingly aware that the international community should adhere to the concept of a community with a shared global future, and thus adopt a multilateral approach with intensified international cooperation to safeguard the global healthcare system and jointly protect people’s right to life and health.
Yves Leterme, former Prime Minister of Belgium, emphasised that “global challenges need global answers.” He believes the UN system is what is behind the tremendous achievements in reducing poverty since 1945. “We have to work to strengthen the United Nations, to improve its functioning and to make it possible that in all domains, through international cooperation, we achieve progress,” Leterme said at the Forum.
Multilateralism was also stressed by Marcos Troyjo, President of the New Development Bank (NDB). The past three quarters of a century have not seen wars involving major international powers. Poverty has also been alleviated. Multilateral institutes including the NDB, Troyjo said, will continue to make the world more prosperous in a sustainable way.
Lin Yifu, Honorary Dean of the National School of Development at Peking University and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, analysed China’s experience of tackling poverty, asserting that a competitive market and support from the state have been key to China’s success. However, he said, any country will have to find its own comparative advantages before eradicating poverty.
Jeffrey Sachs, professor at Columbia University, talked about the huge impact the COVID-19 pandemic has exerted on the world economy: the pandemic “is a bad situation right now, but it’s compounded by the failures of leadership, especially the United States,” Sachs said. He stressed that this is not the time for a trade war. Fighting against COVID-19 should be a priority at the current stage.
Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman at the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, echoed Professor Sachs’s point: “I would also note that we have seen a real lack of international leadership. This raises the question what kind of ‘leadership’ the world actually needs. The coronavirus doesn’t see borders, ethnicity, culture or economic status. There are also many other questions in which humanity needs common answers. We have received another reminder that we are living in a disintegrated world. This is dangerous, and something the world needs to address as a matter of urgency.”
“We need to offer a new system and principles and build a new type of international leadership that will take into account the interests of the emerging world in Asia and Africa, and will help to avoid future global threats” Dr Yakunin added.
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