On May 17, 2021, the BRI International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), ClientEarth and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) co-hosted the Roundtable on Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects and International Seminar on Green Investment and Finance in the Context of Carbon Neutrality in Beijing.
The event was attended by a number of invited speakers, including Mr. Erik Solheim, Convener of the BRIGC Advisory Committee and Senior Advisor of WRI; Ms. Kate Hampton, Convener of the BRIGC Advisory Committee and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF); Mr. Guo Jing, Director General of Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China (MEE); Mr. Enkhbat Altangerel, Director General of Climate Change and International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia; Mr. Ye Yanfei, Counsel (DG Level) of Policy Research Bureau, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC); Ms. Zhou Guomei, Director General of Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center (FECO), MEE; Mr. Zhao Zhongbu, Deputy Director of Business Appraisal Committee and Deputy General Manager of Appraisal Management Department, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure); Ms. Fang Li, Chief Representative of WRI, China, Mr. Dimitri De Boer, Chief Representative of ClientEarth China Office and Mr. Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director at Pakistan-China Institute.
The meeting also attracted more than 40 representatives from dozens of Chinese and international institutions, such as China Development Bank (CDB), Appraisal Center for Environment and Engineering (ACEE) of MEE, Transport Planning and Research Institute (TPRI) of Ministry of Transport of China, International Institute of Green Finance (IIGF) of Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE), the Climate Bonds Initiative, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) and Tara/European Climate Foundation.
The BRIGC launched the Joint Research on Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects (the Guidance Project) in December, 2019 and released the Phase I baseline study report in December, 2020. Continuing this effort, current Phase II research of the Guidance Project aims to develop a set of application guidelines for green development of BRI projects for financial institutions, enterprises and BRI participating countries’ agencies. It will also formulate technical guidelines for transportation infrastructure (railways and highways) projects, to identify and prevent ecological and environmental risks and provide green solutions covering institutional arrangement, procedures, measures, standards, technologies, and toolkits.
In sharing the policies and standards related to green investment and finance in different countries under the background of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, delegates discussed how to make good use of green finance to boost the development of Green Silk Road and foster the consensus and synergy of BRI green development.
Participants also discuss the framework of the Guidance Project Phase II at the meeting. Practical demand and suggestions from stakeholders such as financial institutions and enterprises were collected, with focus on improving eco-environmental management of overseas investment projects.
Mr. Solheim said in his remarks, countries around the world are making concerted efforts to promote green and low-carbon development. Major economies such as China, the United States and the European Union have taken a series of actions in the fields of energy transition and green finance. In this context, it is of practical significance to continue to promote the Guidance Project study.
Mr. Guo Jing said, 2021 marks a crucial year for the international community to cope with climate change, and an important year to promote the construction of Green Silk Road. It is important to build a closer green development partnership between BRIGC and other Chinese and international partners, to improve and enable BRIGC to play a more active role in driving the green and low-carbon development of BRI.
Ms. Kate Hampton pointed out that China’s commitment to carbon peaking and neutrality as well as its goal of strictly controlling the growth of coal consumption during the 14th Five-Year Plan period are green signals to the whole world, which will make important contributions to realizing climate goals. The Guidance Project will set up green guidelines on standards and actions for China’s overseas investment related to BRI, ensuring a green investment and firm support for more countries to achieve post-pandemic green recovery.
Ms. Zhou Guomei mentioned that, green and low-carbon transition has become a key issue related to the BRI countries jointly meeting the challenges of climate change. Guidance to green investment is one of the most effective ways to promote the green and low-carbon development of BRI. She hoped that the Guidance Project could effectively communicate the demands of all parties, and align the research with the national green and low-carbon development strategies of BRI participating countries, to provide guidance for financial institutions and enterprises to identify and prevent environmental risks in their outward investments.
Research team representatives from BRIGC Secretariat, IIGF, and TPRI introduced the progress of the Phase II studies of the Guidance Project. Drawing from the experience and practices of the BRI projects, participants put forward suggestions for the research in areas such as strengthening cooperation and linkage among stakeholders, improving risk identification tools, providing green solutions, promoting convergence of international standards, and facilitating knowledge sharing and translation of research achievements into practices.
The BRIGC is an international platform jointly launched by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and Chinese and international partners at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April 2019, aiming at enhancing international consensus, understanding, cooperation and concerted action on BRI green development. Up to the present, more than 150 Chinese and international institutions have become BRIGC partners, involving 43 countries. As one of the flagship projects of BRIGC, the Guidance Project focuses on three major goals of pollution prevention, climate change response and biodiversity conservation, and develops a clear, practical, and feasible classification system and green development guidelines for BRI projects, with providing green solutions as its core, to inform stakeholders’ decision-making with green guidance.