Inside the CCICED Meeting on Green Belt and Road in China

China is the biggest developing country and a major CO2 emitter in the world, thus its green development philosophy and practice is of great significance for promoting "green orientation" of global development. From June 2nd to 5th, 2019, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) held its 2019 annual general meeting in Hangzhou. The World Resources Institute (WRI), as a foreign member of CCICED, has been contributing recommendations for China's sustainable development over the years, based on its world-leading environmental research outcomes. This year, Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President and CEO, and Mr. Manish Bapna, WRI Executive Vice President and Managing Director, attended the annual meeting at invitation as CCICED's foreign councilor and special advisor respectively.

Belt and Road urban infrastructure development is very important for meeting the Paris Agreement targets and Sustainable Development Goals. It is also a vital and attractive investment opportunity. WRI, as one of the core members of the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road, has been engaged in-depth cooperation with institutions inside and outside China in Environment Improvement and Green Cities Thematic Partnership under the Coalition's framework. WRI gave priority to developing the collaboration framework, promoted the development of green and sustainable city cooperation network, and built the communication and exchange mechanism for Belt and Road inter-city cooperation. As members of the Coalition, Dr. Steer and WRI hosted a thematic forum of the annual general meeting: Belt and Road Initiative and Green Urbanization. Discussions at the forum focused on three topics, namely, regional coordinated development of Belt and Road countries and urban management experience sharing, environmental quality improvement and green cities, and green urban infrastructure investment innovation and practice. 

Dr. Steer said, "For the past 100 years, we've been designing our cities for automobiles, rather than for humans. China is now understanding the value of mass transit as opposed to mass authmobiles. So the question for all of us is: How can outward investment from China contribute to doing things differently in urbanization around the world? China's urbanization will contribute to global development. China can also share its best practice with the rest of the world. China can use policies to influence the effects of its outward investment and thus help Belt and Road countries achieve green urbanization." On urban investment, he suggested cities pay more attention to the following aspects: 1) planning urban forms and controlling city scale; 2) upgrading urban transport network and prioritizing public transit; 3) developing green buildings and infrastructure; 4) adhereing to low-carbon development and increasing the use of renewable energy.

LIU Shijin, Chief Chinese Advisor to CCICED, stressed the convergence between Belt and Road and green urbanization: "Urbanizaiton is China's most important social transformation. Now urbanization in China has entered into a new stage, featuring the rapid growth of metropolitan circles including Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. City clusters have injected vitality for China's further growth. Belt and Road has provided new dynamism for global economic growth. Promoting green urban development in Belt and Road countries and strengthening exchanges between China and other countries is important practice for advancing green Belt and Road development.

In addition, Mr. Bapna attended another thematic forum of the annual general meeting: Post-Katowice Global Climate Governance at invitation as special advisor to CCICED. In the context of the current momentum of global climate actions, he conducted discussions with other guests on important topics including how to accelerate China's climate actions through regional and multilateral cooperation, and how to support global climate governance by using advanced scientific and technological means and science-based policy mechanism.