'Chinese solution' paves the way for global sustainable development
Editor's Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs" published on China Plus on June 8. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
At the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in which he called sustainable development the "golden key" to solving global problems. President Xi proposed creating an open and pluralistic world economy, a happy society that is inclusive and benefits everyone, and a beautiful homeland in which humanity coexists in harmony with nature. President Xi's proposal offered the world a "Chinese solution" for sustainable development.
In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has 17 goals. It mapped out a plan for the world's development from an economic, social and environmental perspective. Considerable progress has been made over the past four years on this agenda, but many challenges remain. 
On the one hand, new technology and the transformation of the industry are creating major opportunities for mankind to achieve coordinated economic, social, and environmental development. China's Belt and Road Initiative is an important driving force towards these goals. On the other hand, unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise, which has impacted on globalization and created a big hurdle for development.
This year's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum focused on sustainable development. This is why President Xi was keen to share China's insights and motivations on how the international community could strengthen its cooperation on development. He proposed that the world create an open and pluralistic global economy with development at its heart. This is all the more important as trade tensions escalate and tariff barriers rise. 
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, June 7, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, June 7, 2019. /CGTN Photo

President Xi restated China's determination to expand its opening-up and to protect economic globalization and the multilateral trading system. He said China is glad to share its scientific and technological research achievements with the world, including 5G technology.
President Xi's call for the creation of "a happy society that is inclusive and benefits all" was directed towards issues of social development. It is not enough to just address the imbalance in opportunity between developing and industrialized countries; each nation must also tackle the gaps in their domestic development. The winner-takes-all mindset is detrimental to the future of mankind, as it hinders the development of all nations. 
In his speech, President Xi said that China will continue to push ahead with its targeted poverty alleviation efforts, increase employment, support vocational education and the healthy development of volunteer services and charity work, and protect the legitimate rights of disadvantaged groups. This will address common issues in social development, and with concerted effort, each nation can bring a greater sense of achievement to its own people.
When it comes to building "a beautiful homeland in which humanity coexists in harmony with nature," this proposition embodies the Chinese concept of ecological progress and serves as a direct answer to the challenge of climate change and the need for environmental protection. 
It comes at a time when some developed nations have chosen to withdraw from or fail to fully implement their commitments in the Paris Agreement on climate change, which casts a shadow on global efforts to reverse the trend of temperature rises caused by carbon emissions.
President Xi said that China will uphold the concept that clear waters and green mountains are valuable assets of a nation and that it will strive to win the battles against air, water, and soil pollution. He said China will join hands with others to address urgent issues like climate change and biodiversity protection and to implement global agreements such as the Paris Agreement. 
Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows the scenery of Nantong Zoo in Nantong, Jiangsu Province. /IC Photo

Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows the scenery of Nantong Zoo in Nantong, Jiangsu Province. /IC Photo

As a responsible major power, China has made remarkable progress on increasing the use of greener energy sources, reducing carbon emissions, and boosting reforestation. Satellite data shows that global reforestation increased by five percent from 2000 to 2017 and that China contributed around one-quarter of that increase. This once again demonstrates that China will follow its words with actions, as it confidently follows a path of green development.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the forum that an unfair world order won't provide stability and sustainability. He called for a new order that is based on the consensus of the international community, and respects the core status of the United Nations in international affairs and fully takes into consideration the rights and interests of developing countries. 
Other leaders at the forum were also of the view that there is no alternative but for all countries to make joint efforts to meet the challenges facing mankind, and they believe China has become an important force for safeguarding multilateralism and international norms and supporting free trade.
China is making a valuable contribution to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through its efforts to push for economic and social progress while at the same time protecting the environment. China believes it is in the best interest of all countries to strive together for sustainable development, which is the golden key for solving global problems. 
Increasing globalization is inevitable, despite its recent setbacks. President Xi's speech has reaffirmed to the international community that China's development will contribute to the global agenda and that it will continue to contribute its wisdom and energy to the worldwide drive to seek sustainable development.
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