By He Yin
Reforming and improving global governance is an issue of the times that the international community must address, as the world is undergoing major changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating such changes.
Protectionism is threatening global economy; unilaterailsm is undermining the current international order; and bullying practices is challenging the norms governing international relations. All these are endangering peace and development of the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the global governance system to the test, and at the same time exposed the problems of maladaptation and mismatch in the global governance system.
Out of a strong sense of responsibility to the future of mankind, Chinese President Xi Jinping summed up the enlightenment brought by COVID-19 and elaborated on China’s ideas about reforming and improving global governance at the high-level meetings to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN).
“We should stay true to multilateralism and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core. Global governance should be based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint cooperation and shared benefits so as to ensure that all countries enjoy equal rights and opportunities and follow the same rules,” Xi said.
“The global governance system should adapt itself to evolving global political and economic dynamics, meet global challenges and embrace the underlying trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation,” Xi continued.
“It is natural for countries to have differences. What’s important is to address them through dialogue and consultation. Countries may engage in competition, but such competition should be positive and healthy in nature. When in competition, countries should not breach the moral standard and should comply with international norms,” he said.
“In particular, major countries should act like major countries. They should provide more global public goods, take up their due responsibilities and live up to people’s expectations,” Xi noted.
In the world, there is only one system, namely the UN-centered international system, and only one set of rules – the basic norms of international relations based on the UN Charter, Xi stressed during a videoconference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sept. 23.
The world has learnt from the past 75 years of experience in global governance that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter can not be changed, and the banner of multilateralism cannot be changed, which is also the keynote of the future reform of the global governance system.
China has called on the UN to stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote cooperation, and focus on real action, so as to encourage all countries to rally behind the banner of the UN to pursue greater unity and progress.
These suggestions of China, while reflecting the international community’s ardent aspirations for a greater role of the UN, have been praised as good approaches to coping with global challenges and reforming and improving global governance, and made China widely acclaimed for setting a good example of safeguarding the UN Charter.
The general trend towards a multi-polar world, economic globalization, and greater democracy in international relations remains unchanged.
At meetings marking the 75th anniversary of the UN, many state leaders and heads of international organizations have made commitment to unswervingly upholding multilateralism and rules-based international order, and expressed firm determination to stick to unity and cooperation to meet the needs in the 21st century.
All parties hold that they should tackle growing global challenges and threats by strengthening global coordination, fully accommodate the concerns of developing countries, and give consideration to the fact of the collective rise of emerging markets and developing countries when it comes to the reform and improvement of global governance.
More and more people have become aware of the fact that by increasing the representation and voice of developing countries the UN could be more balanced in reflecting the interests and wishes of the majority of countries in the world. The common voice of the international community has demonstrated that the efforts to reform and improve global governance should highlight the idea that all need to come together to uphold universal security, share the fruits of development, and jointly decide on the future of the world. Unilateralism is a dead end, and multilateralism remains the right choice for resolving the global governance deficit.
International relations cannot be dragged back to the time when “the law of the jungle” prevailed. All countries should adopt a constructive attitude to consolidating the existing global governance system, rather than seeking dominance, withdrawing from international organizations and treaties, and even fanning up division, isolation, and decoupling.
As the world has reached a critical historic juncture, China voiced the common aspiration of the majority of countirs in the world, pointed the right direction for the reform of the global governance system, and helped build new consensus by making powerful and enlightening remarks as follows:
“Relations among countries and coordination of their interests must only be based on rules and institutions; they must not be lorded over by those who wave a strong fist at others.”
“No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself. Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully or boss of the world.”
“Big countries should lead by example in advocating and upholding the international rule of law and in honoring their commitments. There must be no practice of exceptionalism or double standards. Nor should international law be distorted and used as a pretext to undermine other countries’ legitimate rights and interests or world peace and stability.”
China is a major promoter of a new type of model for global governance, said British scholar Martin Jacques. In the practice of promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, China’s role is more important than ever, said a Brazilian scholar Alexandre Figueiredo .
As a Chinese saying goes, a wise man changes as time and event change. The future of the world is determined by the choices of all countries today. Therefore, the world must steer reform and improvement of global governance in right direction.
The progress of the times is unstoppable. Only by joining hands to uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by all people around the world and building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, can we make the world a better place for everyone.