World experts say China offers inspiration for global sustainable development

China can offer other countries inspirations and opportunities for cooperation in building a sustainable post-pandemic world, officials from international organisations, 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 were 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 had further widened the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) gap.

In achieving the SDGs, improving rural development was 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, 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 would feature green and digital transformation, which would 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 was committed to working with China to revitalise rural areas and share some of the best practices of China in Africa.

A report on sustainable development, released by the forum on Sunday, pointed out four development deficits to attain a sustainable recovery and green deficit as one of them.

Erik Solheim, former executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said that China had “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,’’ Solheim said.

He added that 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.’’

Gao Jifan, Chairman of China’s Trina Solar company, said China had 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 could also play a role in energy transition.

Speaking about hydrogen specifically, Ruet said that hydrogen has two champions in the world: one was China or Asia at large as Japan was part of that as well, and the other one was European countries.

“I think we ought to have more cooperation in terms of research, in terms of joint endeavours, and in terms of exchange of goods because the hydrogen value chain is multiple and complex.

“The Chinese industry has some advantages, so does the 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. (Xinhua/NAN)