Transformative Global Governance: China and the United Nations
13 – 14 January 2014 Shanghai, China – Starting the new year with enthusiasm and ambition UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme co-organized a two day high-level international conference entitled “Transformative Global Governance: China and the United Nations”, which took place in Shanghai, China from the 13th to the 14th of January 2014. The conference was jointly hosted by the Shanghai United Nations Research Association (SUNRA), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Association of China (UNA-China), the Zhongdao Group as well as Fudan University. It was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, the Shanghai UN Research Association (SUNRA) and the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP).
Since an effective United Nations requires the full and meaningful participation of all Member States to respond to the wide range of global concerns and challenges, UNITAR’s role in co-organizing the conference in China was crucial. China has become one of the biggest economic powers, but it has not yet achieved the same level in terms of soft power and political engagement within the UN. Hence by bringing together around 100 international participants including UN and Chinese senior officials, policy makers, experts and civil society leaders from developed and developing countries, UNITAR played an essential role in creating a platform and network to tackle the global challenges China and the United Nations are facing from various angles and perspectives.
Participants interacted, engaged and shared their experience, thoughts and ideas with each other on eight topics related to globalization and continued importance and role of China in its relationship with the United Nations. The following topics were covered: Challenges in global governance and reforming the United Nations; The leadership role of and cooperation between China and the United Nations; Tracking the Clean Energy Agenda to achieve sustainable energy and development; Proving global food security for a growing population in a sustainable way; Transformative North-South and South-South dialogues in the 21st century; Shaping the post-2015 economic, social and environmental framework, and The role of public private partnerships for building universal sustainable futures for all.
The Conference was a success, both in terms of bringing together international high-level participants to engage in discussions about the major challenges we face in the 21st century, and in terms of strengthening the relationship between China and the United Nations. The different panels of the conference especially highlighted the increasing interconnectivity between states and different actors, and that a common vision and collective response is needed to successfully tackle these challenges. It became clear that as inequalities between countries, but also within countries, are growing such a response is needed as soon as possible. This conference thus served as a first step to strengthen cooperation and jointly take on such challenges in the future.
Photo 1: Ms. Sally Fegan-Wyles, Acting Head and Executive Director, UNITAR, with Professor Zhang, Executive Director of the Center for UN Studies, Fudan University
Photo 2: Participants during the Opening Ceremony of the Conference
Photo 3: Participants during the Opening Ceremony of the Conference