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China a leading advocate of global governance reform

By Imran Khalid | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-02-20 09:02
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A view of a wind farm in Rongcheng, Shandong province. [LI XINJUN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Group of 77, the largest organization of developing nations, with over 130 members. It is noteworthy that China remains a staunch ally for inclusive and sustainable development.

While independence was the hallmark six decades ago, the inexorable ascent of the Global South nations today draws extensive discussions on collaborative strategies to address inequality and inadequate growth.

The Third South Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda, in late January and organized by the G77 and China with the theme "Leaving No One Behind", witnessed strong voices of leaders from the Global South and the United Nations calling for enhanced collaboration on more equitable global governance systems, in order to achieve shared and sustainable development.

The existing global governance systems have long been criticized in Africa, Asia and Latin America for favoring developed Western nations and providing no safety net for distressed developing countries. Calls for a reassessment of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank stem from concerns that their structure, location and mandates are ill-suited to address evolving global dynamics. The United States, a key architect of these institutions, wields significant influence due to its substantial shareholdings and their Washington headquarters.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the international system's global institutions reflect the world of 80 years ago, when many African countries were still colonized, adding that they "are no longer fit for purpose".

Dennis Francis, president of the UN General Assembly, also addressed the urgency of reform, asserting that multilateral organizations must swiftly adapt to recognize and leverage the significance of the Global South for a more equitable global order.

The engagement of China, which has extended political backing and financial contributions since the early 1990s, underscores its commitment to the G77's objectives. This collaboration highlights a nuanced global landscape in which nations, beyond formal affiliations, foster mutual support for shared development aspirations.

As the G77 commemorates its diamond milestone, it is crucial to recognize China's substantial role in bolstering the G77's endeavors. This collaboration showcases China's commitment to fostering cooperation and solidarity among developing countries, emphasizing a shared vision for equitable global development. China's ongoing engagement reflects a nuanced approach to international relations, blending political advocacy and tangible financial support to amplify the collective voice of developing nations on the global stage.

As the Kampala summit advocated transformative measures within international organizations including the UN, the World Trade Organization, the IMF and the World Bank, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Guozhong emphasized the idea of collaboration among Global South nations for high-quality cooperation, expressing optimism about the significant potential in this endeavor.

China has underscored the necessity of enhancing international development agencies, especially in supporting the Global South, which comprises Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

Beijing's pivotal role in founding the New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund exemplifies China's commitment to reshaping the global financial landscape. These institutions offer vital alternatives for nations excluded from global financial markets, channeling funds into substantial projects across Asia and beyond.

The transformative impact of such ventures underscores China's dedication to fostering a more inclusive, equitable international economic framework, marking a departure from historical imbalances and cultivating a collaborative future for nations beyond the traditional power centers.

Simultaneously, China calls on developed nations to fulfill their development and climate financing pledges and accelerate the implementation of the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Emphasizing China's commitment to shared development, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, among others, underscore its active role. Over the past decade, China has invested over $1 trillion in more than 3,000 Belt and Road projects worldwide, signaling its dedication to fostering global prosperity.

These efforts align with China's vision of collaborative, sustainable development, which has gained the endorsement of many leaders and resonated with still others. Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, which took over the G77 chairmanship from Cuba, stressed the urgency of reforms in the international financial architecture. He called for multilateral development banks to "support developing countries without imposing any conditionalities that infringe on their sovereignty".

The Summit of the Future, to be held at UN headquarters in New York in September, is expected to explore profound reforms in the international architecture, in financing in particular. And the collective push of the G77 and China for a fairer global governance system is gaining momentum, with nearly all developing countries lending their support to the initiative.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

The author is an international affairs commentator and freelancer based in Karachi, Pakistan.

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