China’s Global Development Initiative seeks to enhance global development and speed up the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, facing challenges and opportunities.
- The Global Development Initiative (GDI) launched by China has gained broad support in Southeast Asia due to its focus on addressing development deficits and offering solutions in priority areas such as poverty alleviation, public health, and green development.
- The GDI is seen as a complementary track to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with a shift towards smaller-sized projects and a focus on sustainable, inclusive, and innovation-driven growth.
- Southeast Asian countries, as developing nations with development challenges, are attracted to the GDI as it aligns with their interests and offers economic opportunities, particularly in poverty reduction and knowledge sharing.
China’s Global Development Initiative
At the 76th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September 2021, China launched its Global Development Initiative (GDI), aiming to draw international attention to global development and expedite the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Principles and Aspirations of the GDI
More than 100 countries and international organizations have endorsed the GDI. Beijing has established a special agency, an earmarked fund of US$4 billion, and a library of global development projects, with more than 200 ‘small and beautiful’ projects carried out as of August 2023.
Challenges and Determinants of the GDI’s Effectiveness
The GDI promises a fresh perspective on global development, emphasizing shared and sustainable development. However, operational challenges and Beijing’s role within the initiative will determine its effectiveness, including cooperation with partner nations and aligning the initiative with recipient countries’ needs.
Operational Strategies and Global Cooperation
A strong domestic and regional accountability system, alignment with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and multi-stakeholder engagement are crucial for the GDI’s success. It also needs to navigate the interplay with other significant frameworks and foster global cooperation. As the world looks on, the GDI’s successes and challenges will reveal themselves through its operational strategies and dexterity in navigating a complex geopolitical environment.
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