Belt and Road will continue to play a positive role toward a clean and beautiful world
Since its inception, the Belt and Road Initiative has been committed to the philosophy of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits, and has won approval from a majority of the international community. The BRI is not only a road to prosperity, but also a path to green development.
At the First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2017, President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of promoting new philosophies of green development and enhancing cooperation in environmental protection to achieve the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In the past five years that we have worked on building the BRI, China has upheld green development philosophies, valued synergy with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, pushed for low-carbon construction, operation and management in infrastructure building, and enhanced cooperation in ecology, environment and biodiversity.
These efforts have given a new impetus to the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and generated new opportunities for development for countries participating in the BRI.
China has signed multilateral and bilateral agreements on eco-environmental cooperation with countries participating in the BRI as well as international organizations. A host of bilateral and multilateral environmental cooperation mechanisms have been strengthened, including those between China and Russia, Kazakhstan, Association of Southeast Asian Nations members, Arab nations and Central and Eastern European countries, in addition to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Euro-Asia Economic Forum. It has also reinforced cooperation mechanisms with BRICS, the association of the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment will join hands with partners from China and abroad to establish the BRI International Green Development Coalition.
The BRI Green Supply Chain Platform has been launched, and so has the Lancang-Mekong Environmental Cooperation Center. China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment worked with the Cambodian Ministry of Environment to establish the China-Cambodia Environmental Cooperation Center, and joined hands with the Laotian Ministry of Environment to launch the China-Laos Environmental Cooperation Office. Demonstration projects for domestic wastewater treatment facilities and biodiversity conservation were initiated.
In Kenya, we are preparing to set up the China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center, which will serve as a new platform for China-Africa cooperation, boost China-Africa environmental collaboration, strengthen environmental governance capabilities and help cope with environmental challenges. We earnestly implemented the initiative launched by President Xi at the first Belt and Road Forum and built a big-data service platform for BRI eco-environmental protection.
We held activities such as the International High-Level Dialogue for BRI Environmental Protection and conducted exchanges and cooperation with Pakistan, the UK and the Czech Republic on nuclear safety monitoring.
We launched the Green Silk Road Envoys program and started the South-South Cooperation Training for Tackling Climate Change, which saw more than 300 representatives from participating countries visit China. We set up environmental protection organizations in Laos and Cambodia for exchanges and built garbage disposal and wastewater treatment facilities in Laos.
We set up the BRI Environmental Technology Exchange and Transfer Center in Shenzhen and China-ASEAN Demonstration Centers for Environmental Protection Technology and Industrial Cooperation and Exchanges in Yixing, Jiangsu province, and Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. We also work with the UN Industrial Development Organization’s Green Silk Road Project Guidelines for Green Industrial Parks.
The BRI calls for proactive efforts from all parties concerned. In this regard, we put forward the following proposals:
First, a green BRI needs collaboration, through which we can achieve shared benefits. The BRI and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development share common goals, so we will build consensus and provide more green goods to participating countries.
Second, a green BRI calls for greater synergy. Governments should shoulder their responsibility of leading and guiding; companies should fulfill their corporate environmental responsibilities; social organizations and the public should play an active role and help with monitoring; trade associations should play the role of coordination; and financial institutions should become responsible fire walls.
Third, a green BRI calls for precise and targeted efforts. We need enhanced coordination between a green BRI, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the plans of participating countries, including coordination of environmental policy, laws and regulations. We should discuss formulation of financial guidelines and technology standards for green BRI projects.
The BRI has played and will keep playing a positive role in promoting green development in the participating countries and regions. It is our hope these countries will make concerted efforts and move toward a community with a shared future for mankind.
The author is China’s minister of ecology and environment.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS