ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan and China have joined hands to promote the objectives of the Global Development Ini­tiative (GDI).

At the invitation of China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Min­ister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari participated in a Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the GDI. The GDI was pro­posed by Chinese President Xi Jinping on 20 September 2022.

Pakistan has joined the “Group of Friends,” comprising over 50 countries, which was established to promote the ob­jectives of the GDI. 

In his remarks at the meet­ing, the Foreign Minister said that GDI was a timely initiative. Progress towards achieving the SDGs has suffered a serious set­back due to the COVID Pandem­ic, inflation and climate change. 

He endorsed action in the 8 key areas identified by the Group of Friends: poverty and hunger, agriculture, climate, en­ergy, trade, industrialisation and the digital economy.

He stressed that three are­as where stronger cooperation was needed to meet the goals of the GDI and the SDGs were: fi­nance, technology and capaci­ty-building.

On finance, he highlighted the necessity of larger concessional finance; vastly expanded lend­ing by Multilateral Develop­ment Banks and policy banks; the redistribution of $400 bil­lion un-utilised SDRs, fulfilment of pledge by industrial coun­tries to provide $100 billion plus annually in climate finance, and the need to explore ways of securing private sector invest­ments into sustainable devel­opment projects and develop­ing other innovative financing mechanisms.

On technology, the Foreign Minister highlighted the need for an open international tech­nology regime, with non-dis­criminatory access, alignment of intellectual property regimes with the SDGs; research focused on the scientific breakthroughs needed to realise the SDGs; and bridging the digital divide.

Lastly, the Foreign Minister highlighted that the GDI can also actively promote develop­mental capacity in the devel­oping countries, focusing on demand driven scientific, com­mercial, functional and govern­ance capacities.

The Minister specially high­lighted that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a vital vehi­cle to promote the GDI’s aim of achieving the SDGs and that this is fully evident in the Chi­na-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative. 

He said that Pakistan has im­plemented $29 billion in trans­port and energy projects, en­hancing Pakistan’s internal and external connectivity and bridg­ing our energy deficit. The Chi­na Pakistan Economic Corridor has created thousands of jobs and enlarged Pakistan’s GDP. He further highlighted that China and Pakistan have invited third countries to join in investing in the emerging CPEC special eco­nomic zones.

In conclusion, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan looks forward to working with China and other members of the Group of Friends to promote concrete and expanded eco­nomic cooperation and realise our collective aspiration for im­plementation of the SDGs and a shared future of peace and pros­perity for all mankind.

The event also heard a key­note address and closing re­marks by Wang Yi, State Coun­cillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, video remarks by the UN Secretary General, and a video briefing on imple­mentation of the GDI.