BOAO, Hainan, April 20 (Xinhua) – China can offer other countries inspirations and opportunities for cooperation in building a sustainable post-pandemic world, officials from international organizations, scholars and business leaders have said.
At the ongoing four-day Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 in China’s southern island province of Hainan, experts are of one mind on China’s role in pushing for sustainable development, and amassed consensus for cooperation.
The ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on global health, world economy and social stability, which has further widened the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) gap. In achieving the SDGs, improving rural development is a priority.
Praising China’s victory in its fight against poverty, Siddharth Chatterjee, UN resident coordinator in China, cited a World Bank report to warn that the economic contraction caused by COVID-19 has pushed some 100 million people into extreme poverty.
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, noted that China “is an inspiration” in “ending poverty and stopping the pandemic.”
“It is this remarkable capacity for planning and investment over a long period on a sustained basis — 40 years — that enables China’s dramatic success,” he said.
“We should understand, as China has shown, that successful rural development depends on a balance of rural and urban success,” said Sachs, author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller The End of Poverty.
Describing China as an important role model for Africa, Sachs said, “what China has achieved is directly applicable to Africa’s development needs and strategies.”
The scholar voiced confidence that the next phase of rural development will feature green and digital transformation, which will draw on China’s technological strength and experience of large scale goal-oriented investment.
“I believe that China can continue to make a historic contribution, not only in its own rural development, but in ending poverty everywhere,” he said.
Echoing Sachs’ remarks, Chatterjee stressed that the UN is committed to working with China to revitalize rural areas, and share some of the best practices of China in Africa.
A report on sustainable development, released by the forum on Sunday, points out “four development deficits” to attain a sustainable recovery, and green deficit is one of them.
Erik Solheim, former executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said that China has “many of the best environment ideas in the world.”
“China is the number one provider of environment technology in the world” and an important provider of solar energy, he said, adding the country is also leading the world in areas such as electric vehicles, wind energy, and hydrogen.
He also praised “Chinese ideas” in green development, such as “the river chief system” and “the fantastic development of green cities like Shenzhen and Hangzhou.”
“China should use the Boao forum to expose all these practices and ideas to the world,” he said.
Gao Jifan, chairman of China’s Trina Solar company, said China has great advantages in photovoltaic resources and technology industry, and has ample opportunities in energy revolution with a focus on carbon neutrality.
Joel Ruet, president of the Bridge Tank, said that the Belt and Road Initiative can also play a role in energy transition.
Speaking about hydrogen specifically, Ruet said that hydrogen has two champions in the world: one is China, or Asia at large as Japan is part of that as well, and the other one is European countries.
“I think we ought to have more cooperations in terms of research, in terms of joint endeavors, and in terms of exchange of goods, because … the hydrogen value chain is multiple, is complex, and the Chinese industry has some advantages … so does German and French industry,” he said.
Chatterjee commended China’s great development in green technologies and renewable energy, saying that China’s experience and knowledge can be shared with the rest of the world and make the planet more sustainable.