With the adoption of the Green Belt Program, the SCO countries will seek to accelerate their emission reduction by sharing their experience in the use of environmentally friendly technologies
Reducing carbon emissions and achieving a state of carbon neutrality can only be achieved through the use of advanced technologies. As such, this has become the focus of attention for the entire world community due to the every more acute problems caused by climate change.
Experts agree that it is human activity-the burning of oil, gas and coal-that is generating the greenhouse effect that is resulting in a seemingly inexorable rise in the average global temperature, which leads to many negative consequences for humanity, in particular, the deteriorating ecological situation that is accelerating biodiversity loss and the emergence of many zoonotic diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, 2 billion people suffer from infectious diseases every year, of which 14 million die.
According to the United Nations, in recent decades, due to climate change, there has been an acceleration of the rate of desertification worldwide.
At the moment, more than 2 billion hectares of productive land has been degraded worldwide by desertification, and an additional 12 million hectares is being degraded annually.
Problems related to desertification and land degradation, water scarcity and food security affect the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization region, mostly Central Asia, which is the core area of the organization.
Socioeconomic stability in this region is of key importance for all the SCO members.
In this context, we are talking about the drying up of the Aral Sea, once the fourth-largest closed sea in the world, an environmental disaster, which has been of not only regional, but also global significance.
The declaration of the heads of the SCO member states, adopted at the end of the Bishkek Summit in 2019, stressed that the growing cross-border security challenges and threats, including climate change and the shortage of drinking water, require special attention, close coordination and constructive interaction with the rest of the international community.
Based on the importance of preserving the ecological balance within the SCO region, restoring biodiversity, ensuring favorable conditions for people's well-being and sustainable development, and in order to implement the concept of cooperation in the field of environmental protection of the SCO member states and the action plan for its practical implementation at the Moscow SCO Summit last year, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to develop and adopt the "SCO Green Belt Program" within the organization.
This program is aimed at promoting the use and implementation of technologies with low greenhouse gas emissions in many sectors of the economy, and increasing the share of renewable and low-emissions energy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Currently, the SCO Green Belt Program is being discussed by experts of the SCO countries and it is due to be adopted at the SCO anniversary summit to be held in Dushanbe on Sep 16 to 17 this year.
Today, all the SCO member states are striving to significantly reduce their carbon emissions and achieve a state of carbon neutrality, which, in turn, will lead to a number of significant, far-reaching positive effects on people's well-being, by helping to ensure food security, preventing natural disasters and strengthening energy independence.
Good news for both China and the SCO countries, as well as the global fight against climate change, was the adoption by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly last September of commitments to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
For the world, China's acceptance of these commitments brings the world community closer to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to less than 2 C.
The implementation of an active program to combat climate change will bring tangible economic benefits to China.
According to available calculations, the program to achieve the goal of 1.5 C will increase the country's GDP by 2 percent to 3 percent, reduce the demand for fossil fuels by about 80 percent, and reduce emissions by 75 percent to 85 percent for the period up to 2050.
China's decarbonization initiatives create huge opportunities to accelerate technological innovation and modernize production, which will further strengthen the country's economy.
We should also not forget that China is a global manufacturing and innovation center, and by setting emissions reduction goals for itself, it is on the way to becoming the largest supplier of decarbonization technologies for other countries striving to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The author is secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
This article was compiled based on the author's speech on The 5th Taihe Civilizations Forum (TCF).