China and Africa committed to upholding multilateralism and UN-centered global system

By Ehizuelen Michael Mitchell Omoruyi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail ChinAfrica, November 6, 2020
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A Chinese medical team member is welcomed upon her arrival in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, on April 30, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The UN marks its 75th anniversary of championing world peace and friendly interaction at a time when the world is ravaged by the deadly coronavirus pandemic. China and Africa have expressed strong support for multilateralism and displayed a shared aspiration for defeating the coronavirus pandemic with solidarity.

In the global arena, the international community is becoming increasingly fragmented. The world is tired of dividing lines and separating nations into friends and foes, and demands stepping up all-encompassing and inclusive mutual assistance and cooperation. While customs and cultures may differ globally, collaboration requires openhanded efforts to overcome misunderstandings, and beyond that, to have mutual respect. China and Africa have expressed steadfast commitment to the path of multilateralism and to the UN-centered global system and are making joint efforts to build a community with a shared future for humanity. 

Common aspiration  

Under the mechanism of the UN, China and Africa developed a common approach to tackling climate change. It is worth mentioning that climate change poses a significant threat to economic, social and environmental development globally. Weather patterns across the globe such as drought, heatwaves, wildfires, rising sea levels and warming oceans are signaling that climate change will bring about catastrophic calamities to the world. For Africa, there is strong proof that temperatures on the continent have risen significantly over the past five to 10 decades, with clear effects on the health, livelihoods and food security of the people. Climate change is likely to reduce agricultural production, intensify water scarcity, aggravate biodiversity loss and contribute to desertification, posing a severe challenge in most African nations.  

China, in collaboration with Africa, has joined the rest of the world to highlight the urgent need for global responses to climate change. At a series of high-level meetings commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China will achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, a move that has been commended and welcomed globally. Since China achieved its development at a very high cost to the environment, this move will boost the global efforts in combating climate change as well as offering support to the UN Environment Program to improve livelihoods by building climate resilience in developing nations. China's commitment to the Paris Agreement and setting clear targets for carbon neutrality by 2060 has made the nation a leading global champion on climate change. All these are part of China's efforts to build a community with shared future for humanity, which is in line with the theme of this year's UN high-level session titled The Future We Want; The UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.

Although there are several notable dissimilarities in appearance, style, and approach among Africans on the one hand, and China on the other, they share a common position on climate change. The issue is given high priority within the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The FOCAC epitomizes the win-win globalization that is essential for the future world. It is no wonder at the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted the increased cooperation between Africa and China and promised that the UN will continue to support Sino-African ties so that all nations in Africa and beyond may enjoy sustainable and inclusive development. 

The continent of Africa's relationship with the UN began in 1960, when 15 African nations gained independence and 17 became UN member states. To remove the stain of Western colonialism, the UN and China embarked on an effort to assist newly independent African states in their right to sovereignty and self-determination. As such, steps have been taken to enhance synergy between China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and the African Union Agenda 2063, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development strategies of African nations. 

Solidarity needed  

Apart from climate change, the world today is confronted by myriad threats and challenges, which require urgent collective response. China places high importance on multilateralism, as the nation believes multilateralism will help the world shed a light on the countless threats and challenges the world is facing nowadays. That is why even though China joined the WTO very late, it has emerged as a protector of the organization's dispute settlement body. China plays a serious role in multilateral trade negotiations on reforms under the UN, and its pacts reflect the spirit of acceptance of other's rights. In the context of multilateral institutions, China has emphasized and nurtured its relations with UN member states and believes that its relationship with them should reflect greater multipolarity, globalization and technological exchange without giving a monopoly to some vested interests. 

For peace and security, China is snowballing its partnership and coordination with the UN peacekeeping missions for fighting piracy in the continent of Africa. This growing partnership comes as African nations steadily reinforce their capacities across peace continuum, from prevention to peacemaking to peacekeeping, underpinned by inclusive sustainable development. China and the UN are also partnering with Africa's regional cooperation mechanism on the mediation efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Western Sahara, Central African Republic, Madagascar, South Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Sudan and Mali. In the case of Mali, 421 Chinese military personnel serve in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), one of the most challenging peacekeeping operations. Therefore, via the UN's unique capacities as the world's premiere vehicle for global cooperation, the UN and China in partnership are well-positioned to remain a steady partner of the African Union and the continent's sub-regional organizations in coordinating assistance of all kinds – to assist African people to help themselves find the 'continent's solution to African people's problems' as well as in pursuing the continent's aspirations and building a future of prosperity and peace.

For the future we want, we must adhere to what the UN Secretary General said on the high-level meetings commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. "As we face our own 1945 moment, the world is yearning for global collaboration and solidarity that display unity like never before to overcome today's emergency, get the world moving, working and prospering again, and uphold the vision of the UN Charter."

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