On January 14, the Secretariat of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held a press conference in Beijing to announce that the BFA Annual Conference 2020 (AC 2020) will be held from March 24 to 27 in Boao, Hainan around the theme of “A World in Change: Bond Together for a Shared Future.”
The world economy is now at crossroad of change, the international situation is fraught with fluctuations and uncertainties. Global economic growth rates keep hitting new lows, and multilateral trade frameworks and the global governance regime are confronted with serious challenges. In this state of flux, there are deep-rooted causes for economic slowdown. Current global governance practices lag behind the need to achieve common development, and the world is faced with considerable challenges to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking to Asia, the overall growth momentum is expected to be maintained. Against the backdrop of the reversal of the open policy in some developed countries, the Asia-Pacific region has made progress in free trade agreements. Asian economies such as China are moving towards high-quality development, safeguarding the achievements of globalization with practical actions and becoming the mainstay of multilateralism,international cooperation and free trade. However, Asian countries are generally facing downward pressure and need to deal with various challenges in the development process.
How can we create new growth momentum for the world economy and inject “positive energy” into global development? How can we bring order to this world in flux and prevent chaos amid changes? The closely-watched AC 2020 will echo the shared concerns of the international community, focus on frontier issues in world development, mobilize support for multilateralism and international cooperation, and steer changes around the world towards win-win outcomes.
According to Li Baodong, Secretary General of the BFA, the preliminary agenda will be composed of more than 50 sessions, which feature five modules: Development Trends, Industrial Changes, Forefront of Innovation, Beautiful Life and Global Governance, which respectively highlight the keywords of change (as the background), reform (as the solution), innovation (as the driver), development (as the goal) and cooperation (as the key).
The “Development Trends” module highlights macro issues with a focus on the analysis of changes,and covers world economic outlook, geopolitics, regional cooperation agreements, climate change and free trade zones and free ports.
The “Industrial Changes” module addresses issues in various sectors of the economy, with a focus on how to deepen reforms and opening-up and how to regain growth momentum through structural reforms in the current global context. It covers manufacturing transition, the platform economy, business environment, monetary policy, finance opening,capital flow and retail.
The “Forefront of Innovation” module keeps a close watch on the new wave of technological and industrial revolutions and its direction, with a focus on identifying new growth drivers for the world, including 5G, artificial intelligence, fintech, big data, future cities and space exploration.
The “Beautiful Life” module explores developmental issues from a broader perspective, with a focus on how to improve people’s livelihood and facilitate fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals. It addresses the topics of education, poverty reduction, aging,youth,women,health, culture, tourism, media and sports.
The “Global Governance” module explores opportunities and challenges in international and regional politics and economies, with an emphasis on strengthening international cooperation amid changes and providing intellectual support for improving global governance. The module covers issues such as G20 cooperation, digital currency governance, economic security and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Sustainable development is also an area of concern, and the topics of AC 2020 covers almost all aspects of UN sustainable development goals.It is necessary for the international community to further build consensus and strengthen cooperation to achieve the goals, and the Boao Forum for Asia will, as always, play an active role in this regard.
In addition, Li said that BFA will launch six flagship reports, namely “Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress 2020”, “Free Trade Agreements: Asia’s Choice”, “Asian Financial Development Report on Financial Inclusion”, “Report on Asia Poverty Reduction 2020”, “Innovation Report”, and “Report on The First Conference of the Global Health Forum”.
In 2020, Boao Forum for Asia will also carry out a series of activities in China and abroad. In conjunction with the G20, a conference will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in February; the second Global Health Forum will be held in Qingdao in June; and the first Global Economic Development and Security Forum will be held in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, in September. In addition, the Boao Forum for Asia will also hold activities in Belgium, Finland , Italy and etc..
In response to a reporter's question on what the biggest problem and solution is in the current world political and economic situation, Li said that the biggest problem facing the world today is the crisis of trust and confidence in global governance. The rules established after World War II have been greatly challenged, and only through multilateralism and international cooperation can we solve the problem. Unilateralism will only push the world into a mess full of estrangement and friction, the fundamental way to solve the crisis is to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The BFA is a high-level cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary and trans-sectoral dialogue platform. Since its inception, the BFA, based in Asia and with a global outlook, has increasingly become an important bridge for communication and interaction between eastern and western political, business and academic communities. As the flagship event of the BFA, AC 2020 will bring together more than 2,000 participants to share perspectives and insights on the development of Asia and the world, including heads of state/government, leaders of international
organizations, ministers, business leaders, economists and media representatives.