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Appeal made for BRICS friendship cities

By Zhao Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-21

Amid the challenges to global peace and development, officials from BRICS countries called on Tuesday for boosting solidarity and cooperation among friendship cities and local governments to seek common growth.

The appeal was made at the 2022 BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum, which was launched in 2011.

Shen Yueyue, vice-chairwoman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said local governments in BRICS countries have engaged in comprehensive cooperation in multiple fields, such as pandemic-response, and have contributed to coping with risks and challenges.

Confronted with certain developed countries' non-market practices, such as decoupling, Shen said friendship cities should stay committed to win-win cooperation and promote the sustainable and the high-quality development of BRICS cooperation.

Shen also urged friendship cities to promote the common values of humanity, noting that they should be inclusive partners that seek mutual learning and exchanges.

Ivan Melnikov, Russian first deputy chairman of the State Duma, welcomed the forum as being conducive to expanding local governments' exchanges and consolidating people-to-people bonds among BRICS countries.

Friendship cities should respect each other's independent choices and reject attempts to point fingers at others, he said.

While applauding that China has eliminated absolute poverty 10 years ahead of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Agenda, Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele, South Africa ambassador to China, said China's poverty alleviation experiences should be learned from to help realize sustainable development.

He also said local governments should apply new technologies and develop the digital economy to revitalize economies beset by the pandemic.

Siddharth Chatterjee, United Nations resident coordinator in China, said that multilateral cooperation was the only choice for tackling global challenges and that the forum increased intergovernmental cooperation by deepening engagements among cities and local governments.

Chatterjee also expressed appreciation to BRICS for leveraging resources to help less-developed countries through South-South cooperation.

Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said the forum has become a major platform for BRICS cities and local governments to enhance understanding, deepen cooperation, seek mutual learning and exchanges as well as pursue shared development.

As the forum champions upholding the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries, Lin said it received a warm response from 18 countries across five continents and nearly 300 people attended both online and in person.

Zhao Long, governor of East China's Fujian province, said at the forum that the province would uphold the BRICS spirit, deepen project cooperation and people-to-people exchanges and improve the institutional guarantee to build high-quality partnerships with provinces, states and cities of BRICS countries.

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