Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape addresses the High-Level Forum on Green Development of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
By adding the green element of development into the dimensions of the Belt and Road Initiative, China is preserving Mother Earth, Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape said.
"Don't forget the small island states," Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape stated at a forum on green development under the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
While voicing concern that his country, like other small island nations, is facing enormous threats of climate consequences, including rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, Marape said China steps out as "a great voice" in green development.
By adding the green element of development into the dimensions of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is preserving Mother Earth, he said.
The high-level forum on green development was held on Oct 18. Earlier in the day, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, in his keynote speech at the Belt and Road forum, that China will continue to promote green development as one of the major steps to support the joint pursuit of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin addresses the High-Level Forum on Green Development of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
World leaders, despite a tight schedule in this 10th anniversary gathering, spared their time to share views on green development and the prospect of the BRI. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said a greener development is necessary to advance the BRI towards a high-quality cooperation for common prosperity. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed to "think outside the box" to achieve a green transition.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced his dissatisfaction. The world's most vulnerable people, communities and countries are paying the highest price, as they live without the resilient infrastructure or financial support they need to adapt, he said.
The concept of Green Silk Road under the BRI, the UN chief said, provides an important opportunity to fast-track sustainable and climate-resilient development to protect lives and livelihoods.
It is "an important tool that can ... pull us out of the dead ends of the past, and set us on a new pathway that benefits people and planet alike," he noted.
This photo taken on Aug. 29, 2023 shows the Peljesac Bridge in Komarna, Croatia. (Xinhua/Li Xuejun)
The past decade has seen the greening of the BRI. James Thornton, president and founder of ClientEarth, a well-known environmental organization, shared with Xinhua his observation. "A good example of a BRI project in Europe is the construction of the Peljesac bridge in Croatia," he said, noting that some local oyster farmers worry that it would affect the production of shellfish.
But the Chinese companies that built the bridge adhered "to the highest environmental standards," which didn't affect the production but increased sales due to shortened distance, he said.
Looking into the next decade, Thornton said one thing that he expects is the BRI can support the deployment of renewable energy in developing countries.
Echoing his view, Damilola Ogunbiyi, special representative of the UN secretary-general for sustainable energy for all, believes that the BRI is capable of advancing renewable energy adoption across the Global South countries.
"As the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles, China is well-placed to help enable the adoption of low-carbon technologies at scale in emerging economies and developing nations through the BRI," she told Xinhua.
Dilma Rousseff, president of the New Development Bank, addresses the High-Level Forum on Green Development of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
The Global South countries have been making enormous efforts to combat challenges including economic protectionism and climate change, said Dilma Rousseff, president of the New Development Bank.
The BRI aims to counter these challenges and has become the world's largest cooperation platform among countries, Rousseff said.
Over the past decade, the BRI has significantly improved global connectivity and trade, with more than 3,000 projects launched through cooperation between Chinese and foreign partners, involving close to 1 trillion U.S. dollars of investment. It has created at least 420,000 jobs for participating countries. In the near future, the BRI is expected to generate substantial benefits for more developing and less developed countries.
As Prime Minister Marape concluded his speech, he recalled the saying that President Xi quoted in the keynote speech: "When you give roses to others, their fragrance lingers on your hand."
"When you help the least (developed countries), you are helping the planet," he said.