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Efforts must be ensured to keep wheels of multilateral cooperation turning

By  He Yin (People's Daily)    14:10, April 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic raging through the globe is exerting extensive and severe impacts on global public health security and world economy, underlining the importance and urgency to gather global response efforts.

Only by giving play to multilateral mechanisms, keeping the wheels of cooperation turning and illuminating the planet by building a community with a shared future for mankind, can countries and people under the dark clouds be empowered.

Practices in the past showed that multilateralism can play a constructive role for mankind to jointly cope with common challenges. As a matter of fact, a great many global and regional multilateral mechanisms, such as the United Nations (UN), the Group of 20 (G20), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were established in response to challenges. Multilateral cooperation based on state power was part and parcel of the fight against abrupt public health crises including Ebola, as well as financial crises in both Asia and the world.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the UN, and thus is a major opportunity to test its member states’ commitment to multilateralism.

The sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease also serves as a reminder of the necessity to enhance global governance with the UN as the core and have multilateral mechanisms play their due roles.

The first resolution regarding the COVID-19 adopted by the UN General Assembly on April 2 underlined that tackling the pandemic calls for “coordinated and global response”.

The UN General Assembly adopted another resolution on April 20 to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19. It also recognizes that the COVID-19 global pandemic requires a global response based on unity, solidarity and multilateral cooperation, reaffirms the fundamental role of the United Nations system in coordinating the global response to control and contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and in supporting Member States, and acknowledges the crucial leading role played by the World Health Organization (WHO).

These relevant resolutions have underscored the severity and importance of multilateral cooperation in fighting the pandemic, charting the course for the joint efforts of the world.

As a UN specialized agency responsible for public health matters, the WHO is at the heart of coordinating the global response to COVID-19, and is particularly indispensable in helping African and developing countries elsewhere to tackle the disease. The organization is needed now more than ever. To support WHO in playing its role is to pool global synergy in battling the virus and save more lives

A vast number of developing countries under the G-77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement, developed countries such as France, Germany, the UK, Canada and Japan, as well as international and regional organizations like the UN and the European Union have all voiced explicit support for the WHO in continuously playing a vital role in coping with the pandemic and reinforcing global public health system.

However, some politicians from certain major countries in the West only want to place the interests of their own countries above the common interests of all. Standing on the opposite side of the most countries, they spared no effort in discrediting and undermining the WHO, and even stirred up troubles on multilateral arenas. These moves only revealed their lack of conscience.

China staunchly supports multilateralism and international organizations in playing their roles, as well as resolutely safeguards the authority and efficacy of multilateral mechanisms. Since the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China, guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, has taken unprecedented actions to coordinate and cooperate with various countries in the world to weather the storm together. China has been acting in a spirit of cooperation, providing timely updates to the WHO and countries and regions, and sharing with them the genetic sequence of the virus at the first opportunity. It donated another $30 million in cash to the WHO on the heels of the $20 million cash donation already made to support the global fight against COVID-19 and strengthen developing countries' health systems. This gives full expression to China’s resolute support for the WHO and multilateralism.

China supports the efforts of the UN and the WHO to step up policy coordination, mobilize more resources and, in particular, help developing countries with vulnerable public health systems strengthen prevention and preparedness. China has been actively propelling international cooperation in combating the pandemic under the framework of G20, and regional cooperation platforms such as Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation and ASEAN-China Cooperation. On these occasions, China put forth a series of important initiatives, with the aim of building up public health capacity and stabilizing world economy.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres remarked that China's support was critical to the future of multilateralism, and he expected China to exercise strong leadership in international affairs.

The rampant pandemic poses a common challenge to all countries that share same responsibilities and a same future. The top priority now is strengthening global governance, promoting multilateral cooperation and combating the disease through joint efforts. Only by building a community with a shared future for mankind, can the health and well-being of all people be ensured and a better development vision realized. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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