In the near future, the establishment of this coalition could raise the visibility and importance of green infrastructure and facilitate deeper cooperation between BRI partners,

...said Manish Bapna, executive vice president and managing director of the World Resources Institute.

Launched in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative, involving trillions of dollars of investments in transportation, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure, industrial capacity, and technical capacity building, rises significant environmental challenges.

In addition to the immediate biophysical impacts, if Belt and Road investments lock countries into unsustainable infrastructure, technology, and resource extraction, this will create long-lasting negative environmental consequences.

One of the avenues for increasing the environmental sustainability of the Belt and Road Initiative is the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road.

China and the UN Environment Programme signed a MoU in 2016, focusing on enhanced collaboration to build a green Belt and Road. UN Environment and the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment lead the programme.

It is an open, inclusive and voluntary international network bringing together the environmental expertise of all partners to ensure that the Belt and Road brings long-term green and sustainable development to all concerned countries in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Coalition’s mission is to integrate sustainable development, in particular environmental sustainability, international standards and best practices, across the five priorities of the Belt and Road Initiative:

  • policy coordination,
  • infrastructure,
  • trade,
  • financial integration, and
  • cultural exchanges.

China has also signed cooperation agreements concerning ecological and environmental protection with more than 30 countries participating the BRI.

The building of a green Belt and Road can help countries achieve the environmental goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

...said Zhai Kun, a professor with Peking University.

The country has also made clear its commitment to incorporate green strategies into the BRI by releasing the Guidelines on Promoting Green Belt and Road and the Belt and Road Ecological Cooperation Plan. These documents outline a vision for sustainability.

China is willing to launch cooperation on ecological and environmental protection with countries along the Belt and Road, expand the International Coalition for Green Development and promote a coalition of sustainable cities under the BRI, according to a report released last Monday.

The building of a green Belt and Road needs joint efforts, which could also bring win-win results to all parties involved,

...said Xue Li, researcher of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.