Many of the problems plaguing today's world could be boiled down to sluggish development, and effective growth strategies are more than welcomed for better global governance, say analysts.[Special Coverage]
An international gathering on the Belt and Road Initiative is scheduled to take place in Beijing on Sunday and Monday to delve into possible solutions to the challenges facing the world.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has spoken highly of the China-proposed initiative, saying "China plays a very central role" through it in uniting the world to address today's global development challenges.
"When we look at the Belt and Road Initiative, we see a very important contribution to this solidarity in addressing global problems with international cooperation, where China plays a very central role," said Guterres in an interview with several UN-based Chinese media outlets earlier this week.
The UN chief said China has been a "strong pillar of multilateralism," which serves as a sound basis for solving global problems.
He pointed out the enormous problems -- climate change, population growth, food insecurity, water scarcity -- in many parts of the world. "We understand there is no solution for these problems at the country level, the solution must be at the global level," he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network along ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.
The initiative has so far gained the support of more than 100 countries and international organizations, and more than 40 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China.
"The world needs to pay attention" to the forum on the initiative, said David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum in a recently published article.
Gosset said the initiative will have a "strong impact on international relations and global business."
The initiative, with an emphasis on infrastructure development, "fits well" into the world's pursuit for sustainable economic development, said participants at a UN forum in Hong Kong Tuesday.
"Since the 2008 global financial crisis, there has been a global emphasis on the importance of infrastructure investment as a way of raising the productivity of economies and driving international trade in a sustainable way," said Chris Heathcote, CEO of Sydney-based Global Infrastructure Hub.
One of the reasons the world is so interested in the initiative is that it complements the need to grow global infrastructure, Heathcote said at the International Public-Private Partnerships Forum co-held by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and Hong Kong City University.
MORE THAN PHYSICAL
Asked to use just one sentence to describe the most important feature of the initiative, Guterres said: "I think what it demonstrates is a vision of how important it is not only to connect the countries, but also to connect the peoples to address the global challenges of today."
"I strongly believe that this initiative comprises more than physical connections as it aims to create the world's largest platform for economic coordination, including policy coordination, trade, finance collaboration and social and cultural cooperation," said Kosta Gouliamos, rector of European University Cyprus.
An expert in political communication as well as media and cultural studies, Gouliamos' many books on the international economy and globalization have been translated into English, French, Spanish and Italian.
"We strongly support the Chinese president's leading effort to create the world's largest economic and cultural platform within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, a modern network that would link China with the various areas and countries of the world," he said.
Being essentially about connectivity, the content of the Belt and Road remains open, said Gosset.
"It is a project which can integrate new ideas and realities more than a rigid program," he said.
Land, maritime and air connections will be reinforced, and digital New Silk Roads backed by evolving technologies will increasingly enrich the relations between China and the world, said Gosset.