The 2023 Nanjing Peace Forum concluded on the evening of September 20. The Forum, held at the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), brought together guests and youth representatives from various countries for in-depth discussions around the theme of “Jointly Promoting Peaceful Development and Sharing the Fruits of Civilization – Youth in Action.”
They exchanged views and shared insights at the main forum and several parallel forums and round tables, particularly highlighting the synergies and economic vitality brought about by the BRI.
The forum this year focused on youth participation in and design of sustainable development. It encouraged the youths to inherit and protect cultural heritage, supported their participation in preserving biodiversity and fighting climate change, and gave full play to their role in promoting peace and sustainability.
At the sub-forum "Ten Years of the BRI – Media, Think Tank and Youth Dialogue 2023," Azim Rahmonzoda, deputy of Chief of the Institute of Asia and Europe, Tajikistan Academy of Sciences, said that the BRI, which aims to promote mutually beneficial cooperation among all participating countries, not only serves China's national interests, but has also brought huge benefits for other Belt and Road countries.
Borat Nurgaliev, director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, stressed the inclusiveness of BRI, which he believed is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and provides a practical solution to the pressing issues facing the whole world.
Zoon Ahmed Khan, a “Generation Z” representative from Pakistan, shared her personal experience of the great changes that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has brought to her hometown. “The past decade has seen the construction of the Corridor, running more than 3,000 kilometers, yielding plenty of results. For example, women, who are traditionally excluded from the labor market, are now working as truck drivers, teachers, video bloggers, senior employees... They are finally able to support themselves.” The BRI has worked wonders in synergizing the efforts of the countries concerned and revitalizing the region. In particular, it provides the opportunity for more young Pakistanis to take part in this grand undertaking, she said.
It is worth noting that the rapid development of China's cultural creativity industry has attracted young people from all over the world to join the global efforts for eco-environmental protection in a way that is eco-friendly, creative, and sustainable at the same time.
Elsbeth van Paridon, a young sinologist from the Netherlands, told reporters that environmentally friendly production approaches and materials are increasingly popular in China and the rest of the world. “The young generation is embracing more readily eco-friendly clothes and bags, rural specialties, and natural products. This greatly promotes a benign ecological cycle, and is especially beneficial for villages and ‘Belt and Road’ countries where traditional handicraft is inherited and passed on. We are actively working on these aspects (protecting nature and achieving harmonious coexistence between man and nature).”
At the closing ceremony, Sun Ming, vice president of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies, released a report titled “Youth Security Perspectives of the Belt and Road Initiative.”The report, based on the communication with dozens of think tanks and hundreds of youths in different countries as well as field visits, concluded that topics such as economic prosperity, social well-being and climate change are the focus of attention among youths both in belt and road countries and elsewhere around the world.
Robert Parua, Education Programme Specialist of UNESCO Beijing Office, made closing remarks at the end of the forum, saying that“I hope the innovative ideas and experience shared during the forum will further strengthen the cultivation of peace culture at all levels. Let us work together to promote peace at the global, regional and national levels and achieve sustainable development and prosperity for all.”