The opening ceremony of the 17th Shanghai Forum themed “Asia’s Responses to the Plural Global Challenges” was held on November 25. Guests and representatives from think tanks, universities, academic institutions, enterprises, governments and media from many countries and regions around the world participated in the forum to discuss the future development of Asia.
Jin Li, president of Fudan University, pointed out that the 20th CPC National Congress has charted the course for building a community with a shared future for mankind and creating a better future for the world. The strategy of building “a strong educational system, greater scientific and technological strength, and a quality workforce” will inject new driving forces into human scientific and technological progress and global economic prosperity. Chinese modernization, as a new form of human civilization, sheds light for other developing countries on their modernization paths.
He noted that a developing, prosperous, stable and dynamic Asia serves the common interests of all countries. By pooling wisdom at the Shanghai Forum on major topics of global governance, the attendees try to solve the most pressing issues in the world, especially in Asia. Fudan University will continue to promote the opening-up of education, carry out in-depth cooperation and exchanges in science and technology, culture, environment and other fields, and promotes regional peace and development.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group said, Shanghai Forum provides a timely platform for people to discuss such challenges together and seek collective wisdom and intelligence. The ongoing climate crisis is getting worse every year, and continues to threaten our lives and biodiversity. Impacts of extreme weather are affecting us like never before. Now is the time for the international community to revive efforts to reduce environmental damage and unite to overcome the global crisis. Human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. The governments of Korea and China have declared carbon-neutral goals, and are making great efforts to achieve them by creating policies and developing technologies, will bring about positive changes in the Asian region, the international community and our planet.
Chung Jae-Ho, ambassador of the Republic of Korea to China, shared his thoughts concerning the plural challenges facing Asia, including the return of geopolitics, intensification of great-power rivalries, changes in the way interdependence is perceived, the combination of the 4th industrial revolution and competition for technological hegemony, and soft-competition based on norms and value. To narrow differences, mitigate tensions, and build up mutual trust, he believes we should maintain dialogues and communications at all times between governments and civil societies alike. Also, the construction and reinforcement of overlapping mini-lateral structures can be a good solution.
The ceremony was moderated by Chen Zhimin, vice president of Fudan University. He said, the Shanghai Forum, after 17 years since its establishment, has always focused on Asia’s development and the world’s hottest issues. The Forum adopts an open, forward-looking attitude and puts forward constructive ideas. The world today is undergoing great transformation. To address common challenges and usher in a brighter future, China, Asia and the rest of the world need to work together, engage in dialogues, learn from each other and inspire each other. He looks forward to meeting the concerns of the times and exchanging opinions on major issues facing Asia and the world.
Chas Freeman, former assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, United States and former ambassador of the United States to Saudi Arabia said, the basis for an inclusive regional balance of power exists. Only through consultation and consensus can we maintain a balance of power in different regions and achieve common prosperity. He said ASEAN’s emergence as the world’s fifth largest economy was largely thanks to the opening up of China. China has also become the largest trade and investment partner of all its neighbors. To strengthen the cooperation among Asian countries in the future, China can further establish multilateral mechanisms in the future.
Wang Feng, foreign member of the National Academy of Lincei in Italy and professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. He drew the audience’s attention to the declining fertility rate in East Asian countries and its impact on regional economic development. He believes that thanks to rapid economic growth in the region in the past decades, individuals’ welfare in East Asian countries has been greatly improved. However, the aging population and declining birth rate are becoming prominent issues. It is urgent for countries to abandon the mentality of a labor-driven economic growth model, and governments and businesses need to be responsible for creating a more equitable and supportive social systems.
Dino Patti Djalal, founder of Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, former vice minister for Foreign Affairs, Indonesia and former ambassador of Indonesia to the United States said he was proud of Asia’s achievements over the past few decades. Southeast Asian countries have continued to strengthen mutual trust, and stick to non-alignment to keep their autonomy in foreign policies. The rest of the world can learn from Southeast Asian countries when trying to resolve conflicts and deepen cooperation. People-to-people dialogue is a good way to engage more countries and come up with more confidence-building measures. He looks forward to enhanced cooperation and trust among ASEAN countries in the future.
Arancha González, dean of Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, former minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Spain and former chief of staff to the Director-General of the WTO said, with China being a very important part of Asia, it has a specific responsibility to contribute to a more stable and predictable economy by continuing with its own reforms and opening. As Asia tackles multiple global challenges, she believes that Asia’s response could be following ancient Chinese wisdom which says that “successful governance relies on solid action”. The countries should mitigate conflicts, continue to open and reform, be a force in support of multilateralism, and prioritize the fight against climate change.
Jean Tirole, 2014 Nobel Laureate in Economics and honorary chairman of the Foundation JJ Laffont-Toulouse School of Economics said, Asia is facing plural challenges including climate change, inequality, insufficient education, shortage of innovation, and excessive public and private debt. He stressed, technological progress is essential but innovation faces a deficit of incentives. The world needs both disruptive innovation and beware of the risks brought by new technologies. Therefore, countries should step up cooperation to improve the management of R&D funding for green technologies and strengthen innovation on the health front, so as to build a better future where common interests come first.
Zheng Yu, professor of School of International Relations & Public Affairs of Fudan University and distinguished professor of Shanghai Oriental Scholar pointed out that to construct global social contract, we need a stable political environment to enable long-term and predictable economic governance, a forward-looking strategy to adapt to digital technological advances and green transition and a dedicated intervention to reduce economic inequality and social inclusion. He said global development should be the central pillar for construction of a global social contract. Development is a global imperative in which all nations and people have a common interest, and strengthening multilateral institutions is the high priority to manage and protect common interest.
This year’s Forum was held from November 25 to 26, with five roundtables respectively entitled “Opportunities and Challenges Faced by Companies on ESG Wave in the Asian-Pacific Region”, “China-Latin American Community with a Shared Future: Opportunities and Challenges in the New Situation”, “Strengthening Personal Data Governance in Financial Institutions”, “State and Economic Development: Asian and International Comparison”, and “New Growth Drivers and Inclusive Finance”.
Shanghai Forum, launched in 2005, is known as one of the most famous international forums held in Shanghai. Co-hosted by Fudan University and Chey Institute for Advanced Studies, and undertaken by Fudan Development Institute, the forum is a non-governmental and non-profit academic organization. It holds an annual symposium in Shanghai.
6 Thematic Reports of Shanghai Forum 2022 and 6 Fudan Report Series were released at the opening ceremony. The reports focus on key issues in China, Asia and the world that are rising and will be of greater importance in the future, providing perspectives to picture the landscape of the future development.
With its mission to “Concentrate on Asia, Focus on Hot Issues, Congregate Elites, Promote Interactions, Enhance Cooperation and Seek Consensus”, Shanghai Forum endeavors to build an interactive platform for multilateral communication among academic, political, commercial, and press circles. The forum has invited roundtable partners from around the world. Well-known enterprises, universities, think tanks, and media at home and abroad have actively participated in the forum. With an open mind, a strategic perspective and a global vision, the forum continues to carry out in-depth discussion on Chinese modernization and shed light on the shared future of mankind.
Presented by Fudan University Media Center
Source: Fudan Development Institute