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Building a community of life for mankind and nature

By Yu Jiang and Ning Tuanhui | | Updated: 2021-06-10 09:55
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The world is encountering changes unseen in a century. At the historical crossroads of the "Two Centenary Goals" - building a moderately prosperous society by 2021 and becoming a developed, modern socialist state by 2049, China has been exploring its development path forward and considering its relations with the world. Therefore, ecological advancement and the relationship between mankind and nature have come to the spotlight.

At the Leaders Summit on Climate held in April 2021, President Xi Jinping explained the concept of "a community of life for mankind and nature" in a comprehensive and systematic manner. He said we must be committed to harmony between mankind and nature, green development, systemic governance, a people-centered approach, multilateralism, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Representing China's approach to global environmental governance

During the industrial revolution, mankind has created immense material wealth. Yet, it has come at a cost of intensified exploitation of natural resources, which disrupted the balance in the Earth's ecosystem.

In recent years, climate change, frequent extreme weather events, worsened desertification, successive outbreak of infectious diseases and repeated warnings of nature have all posed severe challenges to mankind survival and development. Industrialization has created material wealth never seen before, but it has also inflicted irreparable damage to the environment.

Historical experience shows that we, as human beings, must respect nature, follow its ways, and protect it. Only by observing the laws of nature can mankind avoid costly blunders in its exploitation. Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us. This is a reality we have to face.

Therefore, we should make vigorous efforts in respecting and protecting nature, promoting ecological advancement, pursuing the harmonious coexistence of mankind and nature, and jointly building a community of life for mankind and nature.

Demonstrates vision, commitment of China as responsible major country

Climate change is a global challenge at which no country can stand on their own. The international community should work together towards global eco-civilization and firmly pursue green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable development path.

Meanwhile, we should also recognize that developed and developing countries have different historical responsibilities for climate change, and different development needs and capabilities.

Developed countries should do more and make more contributions in addressing climate change. China has never been absent in response to global climate change.

The targets of carbon peak and carbon neutrality officially announced by China manifests the requirement of the "highest possible ambition" in the Paris Agreement and China's utmost determination to address climate change.

China upholds the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, and takes an active part in international cooperation on climate change. Over the years, the Chinese government has earnestly fulfilled its policy commitments of South-South cooperation regarding climate change to support developing countries, especially the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, in confronting the challenge of climate change.

Necessary requirement for community of shared future for mankind

Building a community with a shared future for mankind conforms to major concerns in an era of globalization and responds to a serious question of "Where should humanity go from here". Such a concept reflects the Chinese approach to human development and the global prospect.

The concept of a community of life for mankind and nature embodies that mankind and nature are holistically integrated; mankind should live in harmony with nature; systemic governance is the solution to ecological challenges.

As China's approach to global environmental governance, it shows a cooperative way to tackle environmental challenges and build a clean and beautiful world, demonstrating the vision and commitment of China as a responsible major country.

In building a community of life for mankind and nature and a community with a shared future for mankind, the international community should work closely together in joint efforts, uphold such basic principles of international cooperation as multilateralism, extensive consultation, joint contribution and mutual benefit, promote a new type of international relations characterized by mutual respect, equity and justice, cooperation and mutual benefit, all of which helps narrow divergences among countries and make concerted efforts.

It should be noted that building a community with a shared future for mankind is the overall target of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for the new era as well as the direction of human society.

Building a community of life for mankind and nature is the necessary requirement and an important step and dimension of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Commitment fulfilled with concrete actions

As an important strategic decision made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

China has always been an important participant, contributor and pioneer in global ecological conservation. It has taken a series of actions to respond to climate change and foster a community of life for mankind and nature.

On the one hand, China pursues a green and low-carbon path to development and prioritizes ecological conservation. Ecological advancement and conservation have been written into China's Constitution and incorporated into China's overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

On the other hand, China has done its best to help developing countries build capacity against climate change through various forms of results-oriented South-South cooperation.

China has also made ecological cooperation a key part of Belt and Road Initiative. A number of green action initiatives have been launched, covering wide-ranging efforts in green infrastructure, green energy, green transport and green finance, to bring enduring benefits to people of all countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Impacts business development strategy and individual career choices

Building a community of life for mankind and nature sets forth new requirements for businesses to upgrade themselves and embark on the path of green development – they must put an end to the previous production and operation modes at the expense of the environment; they must do more to promote green, circular, low-carbon development, becoming more competitive in industrial upgrading. Individuals also need to catch up with the trends.

The right orientation is a boon to one's career choice and future development. The youth are the engine of social development and progress. At crossroads of different choices, they should have a whole picture of world changes, take on their responsibilities, and bear in mind which is important for their country.

When making future choices, the youth should take both individual concerns and national interests into considerations. With the motherland in mind, the youth should carefully consider the needs and future of their country and position themselves in the progress of building a community of life for mankind and nature.

Yu Jiang is deputy director of the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy Studies Centre, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

Ning Tuanhui is an assistant research fellow at Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy Studies Centre.

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