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A few months ago, the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) went down in Perth, a city nestled along the Swan River on Australia’s west coast. For the first time in its 10-year history, the forum ventured away from its permanent venue in Boao on China’s Hainan Island for a trip Down Under.
On July 11 and 12, 2011, representatives to the BFA Energy, Resources and Sustainable Development Conference congregated in Perth. More than 300 government officials, entrepreneurs, and scholars addressed issues such as global supply and demand of energy and resources, innovative solutions for energy problems and climate change, and sustainable growth.
One of 28 BFA founding member nations and a developed economy with increasingly close relationship with Asia, Australia has constantly devoted attention and support to BFA. Asian resource importers such as China and Japan have been tightening their cooperative relationships with resource exporters such as Australia. At the Perth conference, all sides engaged in extensive exchange on the topic of sustainable development.
Some Asian countries, including China, are facing challenges transforming their economic growth patterns. Against this backdrop, finding win-win relationships for resources was a significant issue for each participant at Perth, along with planning for the future. Another significant topic of the conference was balanced development of economy and society, which is considered a critical chapter of sustainable development.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BFA, which has now been promoting regional cooperation and a tighter-knit Asia for a decade. Over the years, BFA has witnessed increasing consensus among Asian countries, strengthening Asia’s voice on the global stage.
Former Japanese Prime Minister and Chairman of the BFA Board
Yasuo Fukuda attended the opening ceremony of the Perth conference. In his speech he noted that “the BFA has always dedicated itself to deepening economic ties between Asian nations. Looking back on the past decade, we realize that with Asia’s rapid economic growth, the world economic center of gravity is shifting eastward. Against this backdrop, the BFA provides a platform for the region’s nations to find consensus and optimize their partnerships, contributing to the development of Asia.”
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the Perth conference, Kevin Rudd declared, “Integrating our economies, trade and investments hinges on Asia’s peace and stability. Also, Australia’s stability depends on the regional stability of East Asia. Our common mission is to ensure that peace and stability - which have underpinned our economic growth for 40 years now - continue for the next 40 years as well.”
Former Vice Premier of China, Vice Chairman of the BFA Board, and Chief Representative of China to BFA
In his speech at the Perth conference, Zeng recommended that a global mechanism for stabilizing the energy resources market within the G20 framework be established to prevent a new global economic crisis caused by sharp changes in energy and resource prices.
He also opined that global resource market was dominated by a small number of enterprises, and that disputes over resources frequently contributed to turmoil in countries where increasing politicization of international energy and resources was occurring. Meanwhile, with the increase of financial speculation, prices of some energy and resource commodities have strayed from economic fundamentals to fluctuate dramatically. Soaring energy and resource prices not only hurt emerging markets and developing economies, but also pose a serious threat to the recovery and stabilization of the global economy.
Zeng proposed the BFA serve as a platform for dialogue between producer and consumer countries.
On the afternoon of July 12, 2011, the curtain of the Perth conference fell after two days of discussions. At the closing ceremony, Zhou Wenzhong asserted, “We reached our goals at this conference, reaching a consensus that neither supplier nor consumer countries could handle the complexity of global economic changes alone, and that they should establish long-term strategic, cooperative partnerships. Of course, the BFA has long been devoted to promoting such cooperation, and we will continue working harder towards this end.”