Jointly hosted by the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and the people's government of Yunnan province, the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation was held in Kunming, capital of Yunnan on Nov 21, 2022. Luo Zhaohui, chairman of the CIDCA, and Wang Yubo, governor of Yunnan, attended and addressed the opening ceremony.
In his address, Luo noted that the world is faced with profound changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century. These, coupled with growing major country competition, escalation of geopolitical conflicts, a tortuous journey to global economic recovery, and a deviation in the development of the international agenda, have resulted in a new period of turbulence and transformation for the world, he said.
President Xi Jinping made an assessment of the situation around the world and proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI) following global trends and the aspirations of the people. It has received support from more than 100 countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, and more than 60 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI.
Luo said that in June, President Xi announced 32 measures to deliver on the GDI, including establishing the Global Development Promotion Center, holding a Forum on Global Action for Shared Development, creating a pool of GDI projects, upgrading the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and increasing input to $4 billion, and providing another 100,000 training opportunities. As the competent Chinese government department responsible for promoting international development cooperation, the CIDCA has made active efforts to deliver on the initiative, and important early outcomes have been achieved.
Luo said that the Indian Ocean connects Asia, Africa and Oceania and serves as an important window and route that connects China and countries in the region to the rest of the world. Most of the countries in the region are developing countries that face the same development challenges as China, he added. Located in the proximity of the Indian Ocean, China is an observer of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), he noted, adding that the GDI places the protection and sustainable use of marine resources high on its agenda, which aligns closely with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Countries in the Indian Ocean region are important participants in international development cooperation, and many of them are also members of the Group of Friends of the GDI. He expressed his hope that this forum will kick-start the endeavor to pool wisdom and resources and that China will strengthen cooperation with countries in the Indian Ocean region to grow the blue economy, and advance the implementation of the GDI in the region.
Luo then offered specific cooperative propositions. First, the two sides need to deepen cooperation in the blue economy. He proposed to hold the China-Indian Ocean Region Development Cooperation Forum on a regular basis and strengthen cooperation in the marine economy, science and technology, biology, and tourism for the high-quality and sustainable development of the region. Second, they need to strive for early outcomes. China proposes to establish a jointly-funded China-Indian Ocean Region marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism, and is willing to take the lead in providing financial, material and technical support for the mechanism. China will support the construction of centers for China-Africa cooperation on satellite remote-sensing application. Third, they need to increase intellectual support. This forum and other bilateral and regional cooperation mechanisms should be leveraged to promote innovation and encourage cooperation between the government, think tanks, and enterprises. China proposed to establish a China-Indian Ocean region blue economy think tank network in Yunnan to support capacity building in the field of the blue economy.
Wang said in his address that Yunnan will strive to build a radiation center for South and Southeast Asia and expand opening-up to and cooperation with the Indian Ocean economic circle, to create favorable conditions for the coordinated development of the plateau economy and the blue marine economy. He pledged to fully consolidate and deepen cooperation with countries bordering the Indian Ocean, actively participate in development and construction in the region, and constantly expand the converging interests between Yunnan and countries around the Indian Ocean to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results. He also made cooperative propositions to achieve better-connected logistics in the region, deepen economic and trade ties, expand sci-tech cooperation, strengthen ecological collaboration, as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
This forum is the first high-level official development cooperation forum jointly held by China and countries in the Indian Ocean Region. Over 100 participants, including senior officials from 19 countries bordering the Indian Ocean, representatives from three international organizations, and foreign diplomats, attended the forum online and in person. As an outcome of the forum, the Kunming Joint Press Statement of the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation was released.