Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Monday reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to further strengthen its all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with China, including through the rapid implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Bilawal urged the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) to address the challenges faced by the developing world. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the foreign minister attended a high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the GDI, where he emphasized the need to address challenges in order to support emergency actions to increase cooperation in public health and vaccine equity, ensure food security, enhance energy production, promote global green economy, stimulate trade and industrialization, and eliminate the digital divide.
In his video address, the foreign minister appreciated China’s initiative to launch GDI and termed it a useful platform to accelerate and coordinate efforts for implementing the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Recalling the multiple crises posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and geopolitical developments, with disproportionate and devastating impacts on the Global South, the foreign minister expressed deep concern over the reversal of progress in the implementation of SDGs,” the statement read.
Noting that multiple crises have enlarged the gap in financing for development, Bilawal called upon the international community to mobilize adequate resources for SDGs and fulfill the commitment of providing at least $100 billion annually in climate finance. “Pakistan will continue its efforts to enhance cooperation with China through CPEC, to advance its national implementation of SDGs, in addition to participating actively in the work of the GDI Group of Friends to promote the common aspiration of a peaceful, prosperous and shared future for all mankind,” the Foreign Office said.
Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping of China put forward the Global Development Initiative during his address to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2021. In January 2022, China launched a Group of Friends of GDI in New York – which was joined by Pakistan and more than 50 other countries – as informal cooperation and coordination mechanism for strengthening policy dialogue, sharing best practices, and promoting practical cooperation on realizing the SDGs to advance the objectives of GDI.