Fahad Alturki, vice-president of research at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Saudi Arabia, speaks during the Global Think Tank Webinar via video link on Wednesday.(Photo: Agencies)
Enhanced global cooperation is urgently needed to effectively tackle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world and deal with the daunting global economic slowdown, speakers said at the Global Think Tank Webinar.
The webinar, held on Wednesday night under the title "Stronger together: Global recovery from COVID-19", looked at the challenges brought by the novel coronavirus outbreak and ways of reviving the world economy amid the crisis.
Co-hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and China Daily in Beijing, the event took place as the world faces major economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It brought together experts and scholars from around the world, who discussed the impact and disruption caused by the pandemic and called for enhanced global cooperation and continued support for globalization and the global supply chain.
Xie Fuzhan, president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in his opening remarks that solidarity and cooperation are the only way to prevail over the pandemic.
"Opening-up and cooperation are necessary to reboot the world economy," Xie said. "The impact of the pandemic has accelerated the accumulation of risks and exposed them, plunging the world economy into the most severe recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Today, like never before, the international community needs more synergy in making economic policies and taking stronger action to fight the pandemic.
"In a world where all countries are closely connected by the global industrial, supply and value chains, only by opening-up and sharing the market can we cope with the challenge and create greater development opportunities."
Xie added that China is a major force in promoting global anti-epidemic cooperation and fueling the recovery of the world economy, as China has largely controlled the epidemic domestically, with production and business returning to normal, the national economy recovering and foreign trade and investment stabilizing as a result of the government's effective measures and policies.
China has donated $50 million so far to the World Health Organization and provided emergency medical supplies to more than 150 countries and international organizations.
"We should reject suspicion and doubt to build an open world economy," said Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily. "China is working to give full play to its domestic market, the largest in the world, and building a new model of development in which domestic economic networks play the primary role, and domestic and international economic networks complement each other. China will stay committed to further reform and opening-up and will make new contributions to stabilize the world economy and advance globalization."
Zhou called for enhanced cooperation to ensure that peace and development remain the focus of the world.
"International relations in the postwar era teach us that the interests of countries are closely interconnected and that the future of mankind is increasingly linked together."
"In spite of the new changes in the international arena, we should always uphold multilateralism and reject the Cold War mentality and unilateralism; pursue solidarity and coordination and oppose self-centrism and bullying; stay committed to win-win cooperation; and refuse a zero-sum game and egoism," Zhou said.
Shamshad Akhtar, former undersecretary-general of the United Nations and former executive director of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said that only through solidarity and cooperation can we conquer the virus and get through the current crisis.
Akhtar noted that countries need to focus on key global issues and challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic, while paying more attention to resolving their differences through cooperation and taking timely action to deal with the crisis.
As business in China has gradually returned to normal, the country is now playing the role of a "stabilizer" for the global economy while contributing to the global fight against the pandemic.
The pandemic has spread fiercely across the world and has had a huge impact on economic and social development. With people around the world struggling with this unprecedented public health crisis, the downward pressure on the global economy has been increasing with each passing day. And although China's economy registered positive growth in the second quarter of this year, it is still under huge pressure.
Yu Yongding, senior fellow and academician at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China will win the battle against the coronavirus.
"The Chinese economy is very resilient. Experience over the past 40 years shows that whatever difficulties it faces, China eventually will come through. According to the IMF, China accounted for 40 percent of global economic growth in 2019, larger than the combined contributions to global growth of the United States, the European Union and Japan. I am quite confident that it will do the same, if not more, in 2020 and beyond," Yu added.
Considering the global efforts to fight the coronavirus, Alexander Lomanov, deputy director for scientific work and head of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, noted that the global community failed to fully utilize the potential of international organizations in the first half of 2020, saying the attacks on the WHO by the leading power and its withdrawal from the organization have demonstrated the lack of readiness for coordinated joint action.
"In the first place we have the task of restoring trust among nation states. The only alternative to blackmail is dialogue. The only alternative to the arbitrary application of sanctions is a reliable and effective mechanism for world trade. The only alternative to unilateralism is adherence to international law," Lomanov said.
According to Lomanov, the coronavirus pandemic and the global economic downturn have reminded the world about the need to reform and improve global governance mechanisms. "The problem is that the search for coordinated steps in this direction remains slow. The current crisis situation requires quick and flexible responses."
Fahad Alturki, vice-president of research at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Saudi Arabia, agreed, saying that inclusive, balanced and sustainable measures are needed to restore economic development.
More efforts are also needed to learn from each other and share experiences, help people in need, restore the economy and the functions of societies to a healthy level, employ forward-looking fiscal measures, and enhance social and economic resilience to deal with future crises, Alturki added.