20 October – China’s President Xi Jinping convened the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, marking the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initiative, facilitating consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, aligns with regional governance mechanisms, and embodies the principles of South-South cooperation.
Over the past ten years, the Belt and Road cooperation network has stretched from the Eurasian continent to Africa and Latin America. More than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China.
On 18 Oct, the United Nations Secretary-General delivered remarks during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum.
“Infrastructure is the foundation of everyday life for people and economies, yet billions in the developing world lack access to basic systems and services,” the Secretary-General said. He added that the Belt and Road initiative demonstrates that we have a historic opportunity to build modern, green cities, communities and transportation and power systems that place resilience and sustainability at the heart.
High-Level Forum on Green Development
The Secretary-General also delivered remarks at a High-Level Forum on Green Development, titled the Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature. He emphasized in his statement that we must ensure that any new infrastructure investments, including through the Green Silk Road, should turbocharge a just and sustainable transition, away from planet-wrecking fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
During the High-Level Forum on Green Development segment focusing on actions and practices, UNOSSC Director Dima Al-Khatib noted that South-South and triangular cooperation are essential drivers of success within the BRI. She also highlighted UNOSSC’s work across United Nations system and globally, including initiatives on green development and climate actions. She noted myriad tested development solutions that have been shared via UNOSSC knowledge platforms, including South-South Galaxy, as well as via UNOSSC-managed trust funds.
Dima Al-Khatib noted some examples. “With the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, and India Brazil South Africa Trust Fund, UNOSSC has supported 32 projects in 33 African countries, all Least Developed Countries… This has enabled projects providing solar kits to remote villages in Cameroon, solar pumping systems in Haiti for around 40,000 inhabitants, and access to water for improved livelihood to 11,400 people in Bolivia.”
“Under the two flagship global projects funded by Government of China – namely the Global South-South Development Centre Project and the South-South Maritime-Continental Silk Road Cities Project – UNOSSC has supported numerous demonstrative pilot projects and small grants in over 50 developing countries. These have facilitated technology cooperation and capacity development towards green growth, climate action, environmental sustainability, and disaster risk reduction online trainings covering 170 countries and over 1,200 cities.”
“Guided by sustainable development and South-South cooperation principles, the BRI can galvanize low-emission and climate-resilient development, as well as contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda,” Dima Al-Khatib said. “We believe that some of the most effective solutions for developing countries to adapt to the new realities of climate change and embark on low-emission development pathways lie within developing countries themselves.”
The High-level Forum on Green Development came ahead of Pre-COP on 30-31 October in the UAE, where ministers gathered to make progress on defining and driving consensus on negotiations in advance of COP28 itself.
UN News story: https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142487