Development guidelines for projects promote protection of biodiversity
China's top environmental apparatus has vowed more efforts to enhance green, low-carbon cooperation with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, including technology transfer and capacity building.
The first part of the COP 15 United Nations Biodiversity Conference, which was held in Kunming, Yunnan province, "made solid progress in mainstreaming biodiversity in investment and financing", Lawrence MacDonald, vice-president for communications at the World Resources Institute, said on Tuesday.
While addressing the Leaders' Summit of COP 15 via video link in Beijing on Oct 12, President Xi Jinping announced that China will take the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund to support developing countries in biodiversity protection.
MacDonald said the announcement that China would stop building new coal-fired power plants abroad, along with the publication of Chinese authorities' green development guidelines for overseas investment earlier this year, marked significant progress.
"The green development guidelines are enabling China to make rapid progress in improving the environmental performance of overseas projects," MacDonald said.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the event, Marco Lambertini, co-chair of the coalition and director general of WWF International, also lauded China's announcement that it would stop overseas investment for coal-fired power plants and would establish the Kunming fund.
The announcements reinforced Xi's statement on the need to actively respond to climate change and create a shared community for humanity and nature, he said. They also reiterated China's commitment to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and go carbon neutral before 2060.
Proposed by Xi, the BRI International Green Development Coalition was launched in April 2019.
With 150 partners from more than 40 countries, it aims to support the building of a green BRI as well as the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by promoting policy dialogue, information sharing, technology transfer, demonstration projects and capacity building.
Huang Runqiu, minister of ecology and environment, said China will endeavor to make the coalition fully play its role in deepening green international cooperation under the BRI.
With the coalition as a platform, China will strive to offer solutions for green industrial upgrading and the circular economy, and join hands with other countries involved in the initiative to promote green, low-carbon cooperation on infrastructure, energy, transportation and finance.
He also pledged intensified efforts to enhance technology exchanges between developing nations and support BRI countries in cultivating talent.
MacDonald on Tuesday also reported the progress of the coalition's study on the Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects.
The first phase of the research last year suggested introducing a "greenlight system" to evaluate BRI investments and classifying BRI projects into three categories－red, yellow and green－in accordance with their environmental performance. It also suggested establishing an "incentive and punishment" mechanism to guide financial institutions in accordance with environmental risks and impacts.
MacDonald said the second phase of the study suggests making it a must for financial institutions to establish a list of excluded projects. It also suggests that these institutions offer preferential financing for green projects and establish a clear grievance mechanism for people impacted by a proposed project.
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