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Partners drawn to green BRI project

Hou Liqiang and Zhang Yangfei
Updated: Nov 5,2018 9:40 AM     China Daily

More than 80 institutions from home and abroad have expressed a desire to become partners in a green development coalition in the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior official said.

China sent invitations for coalition partners early this year. With preparations underway, the coalition is expected to be launched in April, said Guo Jing, head of international cooperation for the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Guo made the remark at the annual general meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, which concluded on Nov 3 in Beijing.

More than half of the institutions are government bodies, international organizations, NGOs or international companies from countries involved in the BRI, Guo said.

Addressing the opening of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May last year, President Xi Jinping proposed the establishment of an international coalition for green development on the Belt and Road.

“We will provide support to related countries in adapting to climate change,” he said.

Marco Lambertini, director-general of WWF International, said he welcomes the coalition for greening of the BRI. “We will be very keen to be part of the coalition,” he said.

Lambertini said the coalition could better play its role with a set of targets and product standards. “That’s very important. Standards ensure that the projects of the BRI comply with the vision of environmental conservation,” he said, adding that targets are key because they can demonstrate a positive impact.

The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is a high-level international advisory body comprising officials and experts from home and abroad. It gives policy advice to the Chinese government. The meeting this year is themed “Innovation for a green new era”.

Participants said this year’s annual meeting provided a positive platform for countries to share experiences and practices in protecting ecosystems and promoting low-carbon, green development.

“It serves as a communication platform for China and the world in the area of environmental development, a coordinated platform for building up ecological civilization and an innovative platform for improving a global environmental governance system,” Li Ganjie, China’s minister of ecology and environment, said at the closing ceremony on Nov 3.

The policies recommended at the meeting are valuable in global sustainable development and applicable to the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, he said.

Arthur Hanson, chief international adviser of the council, said the meeting was a great opportunity for people to exchange information and better understand each other, and for foreigners to come away with a better understanding of China.

The idea of ecological civilization can be applicable widely, not only in developing countries but also in OECD countries or elsewhere, he said.

“What I like about what China is trying to do is putting nature first and trying to rebuild and restore a new kind of relationship between people and the environment,” he added.

Erik Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, said some of China’s practices that can be valuable to the rest of the world include the development of metro systems, electrical vehicles, economical and effective solar systems and its achievements in fighting deforestation and desertification.

The meeting drew more than 500 attendees. In addition to 46 members of the council and 27 specially invited advisers, there were also participants from around 50 international partners of the council, including government bodies, international organizations, research institutes and NGOs.