Chinese vision of global sustainable transport | By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan 

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Chinese vision of global sustainable transport


CHINA has “integrated” and “holistic’ vision of Global Sustainable Transport (GST) which would be vital for greater regional connectivity, trans-continental integration, immense socio-economic prosperity and eradication of poverty in the days to come.

In this context, most recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping while addressing the second United Nations GST conference said that China will not close its door to the world, and it will only become more and more open.

Chinese President suggested that “advanced” global transport cooperation would be a “new chapter” featuring connectivity of infrastructure, unfettered flows of trade and investment and interaction among civilizations.

He presented multifaceted policies comprising five proposals to achieve this goal. He termed transport as the “artery” of the economy and a bond among civilizations which has turned the world into a close-knit global village.

The Chinese President also announced to set up a Global Innovation and Knowledge Center for Sustainable Transport, as a contribution to global transport development.

Furthermore, it will continue to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen infrastructure connectivity with other countries, and develop a green Silk Road and a digital Silk Road at a faster pace which shows his strong commitment towards greater regional connectivity through smart and integrated global sustainable transport system.

He was of the view that transport, in the form of camel caravans and sailing boats on the “ancient Silk Road”, wave breaking vessels in the “Age of Exploration” and crisscross transport networks in current era has supported economic development, integration and diversification and people-to-people exchanges.

Firstly, the Chinese President highlighted the importance of open societies, communities, countries and world and urged the world to uphold open interplay and enhance connectivity.

The Chinese President proposed that we should pursue an open world economy, reject discriminatory or exclusive rules and systems and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.

To achieve this goal he suggested that we should strengthen both hard connectivity of infrastructure and soft connectivity of institutions and rules, and develop four-dimensional connectivity of land, sea, air and the Internet.

Thus connectivity is the way forward for “glory” of humanity and center of “gravitation’ of regional as well as international economies in the days to come. Secondly, President Xi stressed to uphold common development and promote fairness and inclusiveness.

In his opinion countries can be developed through true development having common prosperity agenda.

In this connection, he labeled that role of transport would increase development in poor regions and also ratify uneven development in the world.

He proposed that there is urgent need to enhance North-South and South-South cooperation and scale up support for developing transport infrastructure in the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, so as to achieve common prosperity.

Thirdly, he upheld that an innovation-driven approach must for future development which would create more stimulators or drivers for development.

He termed smart transport and smart logistics important for development which would also promote deep integration of new technologies like big data, the Internet, artificial intelligence and block-chain with the transport sector to ensure easier movement of people and smoother flow of goods.

Fourthly, the Chinese President stressed the need to uphold ecological conservation as a priority and pursue green and low-carbon development.

He labelled it the only durable way to achieve sustainable development through an economic system for green and low-carbon development and promote green transition in all respects of economic and social development.

In this regard, he suggested to initiate more efforts to foster a green and low-carbon way of transport, step up green infrastructural development, promote new energy, smart, digital and light-weight transport equipment and encourage and advocate green travel, to make transport and travel more environment-friendly and low-carbon.

Fifthly, Xi Jiping emphasized to uphold multilateralism and improve global governance. He was of the view that vision of global governance having extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and mobilize resources from across the globe to meet global challenges and promote global development is the need of the hour.

He urged that authority and status of the United Nations in the context of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advance cooperation in such areas as poverty reduction, health, transport

and logistics and infrastructure development should be encouraged and maintained.
Being a prominent regional expert of China, CPEC & BRI, really appreciate strategic global transport vision of Chinese President Xi Jiping which is comprehensive, inclusive, open, supportive and facilitating.

Modern world is based on connectivity through which countries can reinforce each other’s efforts and achieve win-win results. Moreover, persuasion of an open global economy and rejection of discriminatory or exclusive rules and systems is the way forward.

Chinese President Xi’s formula of development depends on common development and promotion of fairness and inclusiveness which would lead towards prosperity.

His urge of an innovation-driven approach and creating more drivers for development is an economic stimulator which would play very important in the future.

Development of smart transport and smart logistics and promotion of deep integration of new technologies can ensure easier movement of people and smoother flow of goods.

Moreover, China has excelled in equipment manufacturing like high-speed trains and large aircraft and now has more than half of the world’s new energy vehicles.

In this connection, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the China-Europe Railway Express and ocean-going cargo vessels have been running day and night to keep global industrial and supply chains stable.

The policy makers of Pakistan should try to include Chinese vision of Global Sustainable Transport (GST) in the CPEC phase-II which would be mutually beneficial for both the countries.

The three-day UN Sustainable Transport Conference opened on October 14 has examined the importance, utility and scope of transportation in elimination of global warming, economic growth and sustainable development. It is taking place just weeks before the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics, Regional geopolitical expert of China, CPEC & BRI.

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