Ministry official lauds 'persistent efforts' made in recent years
China has made historic progress in its development of a green Belt and Road Initiative as the country strives to improve the top-level design and cooperation mechanism for the international scheme, a senior environmental official said.
Zhang Yujun, head of the Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, made the remarks during an interview with China Daily in the lead-up to the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this week.
China has introduced a series of policy documents to improve the top-level design for building a green BRI, he said.
In 2017, for example, China published a plan focused on fostering BRI environmental cooperation and a guideline detailing the nation's road map to developing the scheme in an environmentally friendly way, he said.
He said the country also issued two guidelines on outbound investment in 2021 and last year, which have provided guidance for Chinese enterprises in their overseas investment operations and environmental management.
With one of the focuses on climate change, the 2022 guideline includes requirements for a wide range of procedures in companies' overseas operations that take the environment into account.
Before finalizing overseas mergers and acquisitions, for instance, enterprises should assess environmental risks created by target companies, including pollution, lawsuits and penalties. Hazardous waste disposal and greenhouse gas emissions should also be given priority in the assessments.
"Always adhering to the philosophy of green development, China has made persistent efforts to ramp up the construction of multilateral cooperation platforms under the green BRI framework," Zhang said.
China, together with 31 countries, has jointly launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development. The document underscored that China and these nations will jointly promote green, low-carbon development, he stressed.
Zhang also highlighted the significant roles the BRI International Green Development Coalition has played in making the BRI greener.
Launched by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment with its partners from home and abroad in 2019, the coalition now consists of more than 150 partners from 43 countries, including the environmental authorities of 26 countries, he said.
To date, the coalition has held almost 100 symposiums on green development in BRI projects, including those on tackling climate change and promoting biodiversity conservation.
Joining hands with experts from home and abroad, it has published over 30 policy reports, including the Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects, he said.
These reports have not only provided advanced development concepts and policy suggestions to governments, companies and financial institutions, but have also promoted China's ideas, solutions and wisdom, he continued.
The BRI Environmental Big Data Platform has gathered the basic environmental information of over 200 countries and regions involved in the initiative, he said.
It now includes environmental regulations and standards for over 40 BRI countries. The platform has provided solutions on green, low-carbon and sustainable development, as well as ecological and environmental risk prevention, for outbound investment, he said.
He said China has provided training courses for 3,000 people from 120 countries under the Green Silk Road Envoys Program.
Zhang said that China's efforts to build a green BRI are critical for the construction of a clean and beautiful world.
"China has undergone a significant transformation from being a participant to a trailblazer in global environmental governance. Its effort in promoting a green BRI will contribute Chinese wisdom and solutions to ecological civilization construction around the globe," he said.
"The effort will also inject new momentum into building a clean and beautiful world and constructing a community with a shared future for humanity, and consistently benefit people from BRI countries."