THRIVING TOURISM: The Boao station of the East Central Railway of Hainan Province. Since it was chosen as the permanent site of the Boao Forum for Asia in 2001, Boao has become a famous destination and local tourism has surged (GUO CHENG)
In the 10 years since the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) was founded in 2001, seeking "win-win" across Asia has been the meeting's core concept. Now, the BFA is taking a big step forward, shifting its core topics to cover a wider range of issue.
This holds true in many emerging countries, China included, where people are more concerned with the quality, and not simply the rate, of development.
"Many state leaders are realizing that we should look beyond the concept that GDP should come first and shift our priorities to enhancing people's living standards," Yasuo Fukuda, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BFA, said on April 15 at a seminar during the BFA Annual Conference 2011.
This year, government, business and academic leaders from across Asia and other continents discussed hot topics crucial to Asia's future and the world at large.
The BFA Annual Conference 2011 was held April 13-16 in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, under the banner of Inclusive Development: Common Agenda & New Challenges. Chinese President Hu Jintao attended the opening ceremony, delivering a keynote speech with other heads of state and governments, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, South African President Jacob Zuma and South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, in attendance.
More than win-win
Since its establishment, the BFA has been committed to promoting regional economic integration in Asia and providing intellectual support for sustained development to the overall Asian economy.
Win-win, which appeared in the BFA's theme four times since 2001, pays more attention to common development between countries and regions, while inclusive development stresses common development between different areas, groups and social hierarchies within one economy, said Long Yongtu, former Secretary General of BFA.
"Time is of the essence to propose inclusive development in China," said Zhang Qizuo, Vice President of Chengdu University.
China's per-capita GDP has surpassed $4,000, allowing it to join the group of countries with upper-middle incomes. Meanwhile, this rapid development has been accompanied by various contradictions. Only in decades or an even longer period, when China successfully overcomes the middle-income trap and realizes common wealth, will this value be less urgent, Zhang added.
Achieving inclusive development will take time, but leaders at the forum were quick to propose a series of strategies and measures to bring this concept to fruition.
"We should pay more attention to basic education, the rule of law, human rights awareness, the balance between development and the environment, enhancing women's status, and other areas. Only in this way can we achieve sustainable economic development," said Fukuda.