Global cooperation networks bolster inclusive development

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The first Belt and Road Forum was held in Beijing in May this year. The event brought together policymakers, industry captains and others from 130 countries including heads of state of 29 countries. Heads of leading multilateral agencies such as the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were present too. Delegates numbered over 1500. The Forum evoked keen interest and participation of a large section of society in the region and beyond.

The deliberations during the two day event threw up various concerns, ideas and possible solutions to address major concerns of communities along the Belt. Speakers recalled the contribution of our forefathers nearly two thousand years ago when the ancient Silk Route was conceptualized to forge economic cooperation and cultural exchange among countries and communities along the Route. These can serve as strong inspiration for efforts in our times, it was felt. Common challenges in the areas of physical infrastructure and environmental sustainability can be addressed more effectively through cooperation among countries in the Belt. Shared approach to problem solving can address the issues of inclusive development and effective governance among communities and help create a ‘big family of harmonious co-existence’ as Chinese President Xi Jinping stated. China has committed significant financial resources and other support for projects in the region.

We bring you more details in this issue of One Belt One Road.

Among other events, the ASEAN Summit level meeting was held in Manila under the new chairmanship of Manila. Among the older blocs, ASEAN is in its 50th year. This year’s theme ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World’ seeks to further strengthen unity and cooperation among member states. The chairman emphasized ASEAN’s ‘commitment to renew the aspirations and the enduring values of the ASEAN Founding Fathers, in adherence to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Bangkok Declaration which launched ASEAN
in 1967’.

We believe that cooperation at the global level between nations and communities is vital in addressing various challenges on the economic and social fronts. As nations and societies strive to eradicate poverty and promote inclusive development they are looking for ideas and innovation to promote literacy, bolster public healthcare and halt environmental degradation among several other challenges. Many of these are common across several countries in the region and call for cooperation and collective problem solving approaches. Security is a more recent concern prompted by increasing terrorism incidents in several regions, both developing and developed. Intelligence sharing and cooperation among countries can go to meeting this challenge effectively-preventing incidents and saving
precious lives.

As in the past, we have enjoyed putting together this issue of One Belt One Road. We hope our efforts will further the cause of global cooperation in the quest for a more inclusive, sustainable future.