Recently, Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road (hereinafter referred to as the Guidance) in order to further boost green development along the Belt and Road.
Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road
To build a more comprehensive, in-depth, and diversified opening-up pattern, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council sized up the situation and put forward the initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative). It is of great significance to quicken the pace to shape the mechanism and environment that highlight innovation, value coordination, advocate green development, deepen opening-up and promote sharing. In order to execute the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, mainstream ecological civilization in the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative, promote green development, strengthen eco-environment protection, and jointly build a green silk road, the following opinions below are hereby brought forth.
(i) Promoting green Belt and Road is an internal need to share the ecological civilization philosophy and achieve sustainable development. Guided by ecological civilization and green development concepts, green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative follows the principle of being resource efficient and environment friendly, imbed the concept of green into the efforts in policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds (hereinafter referred to as ‘Five Goals’), and incorporates eco-environment protection into all aspects and whole process of the ‘Belt and Road’ building. Promoting green Belt and Road and strengthening eco-environment protection will help improve mutual understanding and support among governments, enterprises and people of countries along the ‘Belt and Road’ route, share China’s experience and practice in ecological civilization and green development, enhance capability for eco-environment protection, prevent eco-environment risk, facilitate joint achievement of 2030 sustainable development goals by countries and regions along the route and provide sound service, support and guarantee for the building of the ‘Belt and Road’.
(ii) Promoting green Belt and Road is an essential effort to participate in global environmental governance and promote green development concept. Green development has become a common goal and a key content of global governance. Promoting green Belt and Road responds to the international trend of seeking green, low-carbon and circular development. It is an effective means to reinforce the stimuli for continuous and healthy economic development. To promote green Belt and Road, efforts will be made to incorporate the principles of being resource efficient and environment friendly into the whole process of international cooperation on production capacity and equipment manufacturing, spur the enterprises to observe relevant environmental protection laws, regulations and standards, and boost green technology and industry development so as to enhance China’s capability to participate in global environmental governance.
(iii) Promoting green Belt and Road is a key move to serve and forge communities of shared interests, common responsibility and common destiny. Challenged by more severe global and regional eco-environmental issues, countries also need a favorable ecological environment in seeking economic and social development. It is a shared responsibility for countries in the world to prevent and curb environmental pollution and ecological damage. Promoting green Belt and Road is conducive to conducting pragmatic cooperation, promoting green investment, green trade and green financial systems, achieving a win-win situation for economic growth and environmental protection, and building communities of shared interests, common responsibility and common destiny.
II. Overall requirements
(i) Guiding philosophy
Following the decisions and deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and guided by the ‘Silk Road Spirit’ featuring peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, learning for mutual benefit, we will spare no efforts to enhance the green concept in realizing the ‘five goals’ while embedded with the concept of seeking innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing and committed to the joint efforts in process consultation and development, result sharing, equality and mutual benefit. We will also develop supporting system for the exchanges and cooperation on eco-environment protection, risk prevention and service, build up the platform for communication and dialogue, information support and industrial technological cooperation, and promote the formation of multi-dimensional cooperation pattern featuring government guidance, enterprise as the main player and civil society facilitation so as to render positive contributions to the green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
(ii) Basic principles
—Green concept as the priority and cooperation-based sharing. We will prioritize the concept of ecological civilization and green development, focus on the incorporation of eco-environment protection and socio-economic development, actively integrate the relevant strategies and plans with countries or regions along the route, strengthen policy dialogues on eco-environment protection, enrich cooperation mechanisms and exchange platforms, and promote the sharing of green development results.
—Leading role of green development with environmental protection as the support. We will facilitate the formation of multi-channel, multi-level and multi-dimensional cooperation models for eco-environment protection, reinforce government-enterprise coordination, and encourage industries and enterprises to adopt more advanced and environmentally friendly standards so as to enhance their green competitive edge to lead green development.
—Observing laws and regulations for risk prevention. We will urge the businesses to observe international regulations on economy and trade and the laws, regulations, policies and standards of the host countries on eco-environment protection, attach great importance to the appeals of the local residents on environment protection, and build up corporate credit system to circumvent eco risk and ensure safety.
—Holistic integration and orderly advancement. We will strengthen departmental coordination and integrate central and local government efforts to shape a sound layout for the cooperation of production capacity and equipment manufacturing in line with ecological carrying capacity; we will also advance the green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative in an orderly way by prioritizing key countries and fields via key cooperation mechanisms.
(iii) Main objectives
We will build up a mutually beneficial cooperation network, new cooperation model and diversified cooperation platform while taking into account the demands for ecological civilization green growth and sustainable development of the countries along the route. We aim to build pragmatic and efficient eco-environment protection cooperation and exchange systems, support and service platforms and industrial technological cooperation bases, formulate and execute a series of eco-environment risk prevention policies and measures and lay a solid foundation for green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative within 3 to 5 years; we also aim to build a relatively complete eco-environment protection service, support and guarantee system, implement a cohort of key eco-environment protection projects and achieve favorable results within 5 to 10 years.
III. Main tasks
(i) Comprehensively serve the ‘Five Goals’, promote green development and ensure eco-environment safety
1. We will highlight the ecological civilization philosophy, strengthen communication on eco-environment protection policy and facilitate people-to-people bonds. We will, according to the overall requirements of the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative and by centering around ecological civilization, sustainable development goals and relevant environmental protection requirements, coordinate existing domestic and international cooperation mechanisms, leverage on the role of eco-environment protection as a window for international cooperation, strengthen integration of eco-environment protection strategies and plans of countries or regions along the route, and build cooperation and exchange systems. We will fully utilize traditional and new media outlets to disseminate information of the philosophy, laws and regulations, policies and standards, technical practice and China’s stories of ecological civilization and green development. We will support environmental protection NGOs to build partnerships with institutions of countries along the route so as to co-conduct an array of events for environment protection so as to create an enabling environment for joint efforts in advancing the green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative and facilitate people-to-people bonds.
2. We will reinforce basic preparation, optimize production capacity layout and prevent eco risks. We will seek cooperation to understand the eco situation and relevant requirements for environmental protection in project host countries and regions, identify environment sensitive and vulnerable areas, conduct integrated environment impact assessment and rationally arrange cooperation projects on production capacity. We will reinforce cooperation and exchange on environmental emergency and early warning, and sharpen environment risk prevention capability so as to guarantee environment safety for the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
3. We will boost green infrastructure and prioritize environment quality. We will formulate environmental protection standards and codes for infrastructure construction, increase environment protection service and support for major infrastructure construction projects along the route, popularize energy conservation and environmental protection standards and practice in such sectors as green transport, green building and clean energy, advance environmental protection in areas like water, atmosphere, soil and bio-diversity, promote environmental infrastructure construction and improve green and low-carbon construction and operation.
4. We will advance green trade and promote sustainable production and consumption. We will study and formulate policy measures and relevant standards and codes, and boost green trade. We will also include environmental protection requirements into FTAs, serve the negotiation for and the implementation of relevant environment and trade agreements and heighten the verification of compliance of environmental measures in trade activities; We will liberalize environmental protection industries and expand import and export of green products and services; We will accelerate the research and formulation of green product evaluation standards, develop green product standard system, reinforce international exchange and cooperation, popularize China’s green product standards and reduce green trade barriers. We will also intensify green supply chain management, promote green production, purchase and consumption, strengthen international cooperation and demonstration on green supply chain, mobilize the upper and lower stream of the supply chain to adopt energy efficient and environmental friendly measures, and lower the impact on environment with market means.
5. We will fortify environment management of overseas investment and develop green financial system. We will quicken the pace to formulate and execute policies and measures to prevent eco risks of investment and financing projects, tighten environment management for overseas investment, drive enterprises to voluntarily bear environmental and social responsibilities, and strictly protect bio-diversity and ecological environment. We will push China’s financial institutions, multilateral development agencies initiated and participated by China and relevant enterprises to adopt the principle of voluntary environment risk management so as to support green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative. We will also actively facilitate the implementation of green industrial development and eco-environment protection projects.
(ii) Develop environmental protection cooperation platform to provide all-round support and service
1. We will develop environmental protection cooperation mechanisms and platforms and perfect the international environmental governance system. We will, by centering around green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative, coordinate and fully utilize the existing bilateral and multilateral international cooperation mechanisms for environmental protection, build environmental protection cooperation networks, innovate environmental protection international cooperation models and build up diversified cooperation platforms participated by governments, think tanks, enterprises, social organizations and the public. We will also intensify the roles of such cooperation mechanisms as China-ASEAN cooperation, SCO cooperation, Lancang-Mekong cooperation, CICA, Euro-Asia Economic Forum, FOCAC, and China-Arab States cooperation, advance the cooperation platform on environmental protection for the six major economic corridors, expand the cooperation with relevant international organizations and institutions, and facilitate the reform of the international environmental governance system.
2. We will strengthen the cooperation on eco-environment protection standards and technological innovation for a lead in green development. We will build green technology banks and intensify transfer and transformation of green, advanced and applicable technologies in developing countries along the ‘Belt and Road’ route. We will encourage relevant industry associations to formulate and issue industrial eco-environment protection standards, codes and guides that are in line with international standards, promote joint R and D, popularize and apply advanced eco-environment protection technologies, reinforce technical personnel exchanges, and drive scientific research institutions and think tanks to co-build scientific research and technical R and D platforms so as to provide intellectual support for green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
3. We will promote sharing and disclosure of environmental protection information and provide comprehensive information support and guarantee. We will strengthen the development of big data on environmental protection, utilize information technologies such as ‘Internet plus’, big data and satellite remote sensing, make use of the role of national spatial and information infrastructure, strengthen environment information sharing and co-build green ‘Belt and Road’ eco-environment protection big data service platforms. We will also promote exchanges and sharing of practical experience in environmental protection laws, regulations, policies, and standards, strengthen inter-departmental coordination and cooperation and the sharing and disclosure of projects’ eco protection information, provide better consultation service for overseas projects concerning environment risk assessment and prevention, and seek more cooperate on environment protection information products, technologies and services so as to provide more comprehensive information for the green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
(iii) Formulate full-fledged policy measures and heighten government-enterprise coordination to ensure implementation results
1. We will expand outbound assistance and support efforts and facilitate the implementation of green projects. By focusing on such key areas as environment protection, pollution prevention and control, environmental protection technologies and industries, and personnel training and exchanges, we will prioritize infrastructure and capability building projects for energy conservation, emission reduction and eco-environment protection, establish center for environment protection cooperation abroad, play the role of South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, and support NGOs to carry out various environment protection projects to serve the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
2. We will enhance green guidance for corporate behavior and encourage businesses to adopt voluntary measures. We will encourage environment friendly enterprises to expand their markets in countries along the route, guide the environment-friendly industries with competitive edge to ‘go global’ in clusters, and explore innovative cooperation modes for joint construction of eco-environment protection parks with countries along the route while taking China’s construction standards for national eco-industrial demonstration parks as the reference. We will implement the Guideline of Environment Protection for Overseas Investment and Cooperation and drive enterprises to voluntarily obey local environmental protection laws, regulations, standards and codes, honor environmental and social responsibilities and release annual environmental reports. We will encourage the enterprises to prioritize low-carbon, energy-saving, environment-friendly and green materials and technical processes, reinforce bio-diversity protection, prioritize protective measures at or near the site and take good care of ecological rehabilitation. We will also guide the businesses to tighten their R and D efforts on key technologies to address climate change and expand application.
3. We will consolidate government-enterprise coordination with enterprises as the main players. We will also study and formulate relevant documents to regulate and guide related enterprises to honor environmental and social responsibilities while advancing the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative and refine the verification mechanism for overseas investment by the enterprises. Relevant industry associations and chambers of commerce should establish code of conduct for overseas investment by enterprises and guide the enterprises to regulate their environmental behavior via self-discipline.
(iv) Leverage on local advantages, strengthen capacity building and facilitate project implementation
1. We will leverage on the geographic advantages of different regions and define positioning and cooperation direction. We will fully utilize the geographic advantages of each region in advancing the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative with clear positioning. We will also, in places with favorable conditions, accelerate the construction of Center for ‘Belt and Road’ Environmental Technology Innovation and Transfer and Base for the Cooperation and Demonstration of Environmental Friendly Technology and Industry, and base for the cooperation and demonstration of environmental friendly technology and industry targeted at ASEAN, Central Asia, South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Arab States, Africa and other countries. We will drive and support environmental protection industrial parks, circular economy industrial parks, major industrial sectors and environmental protection enterprises to be more international and advance the implementation of projects supporting environmental protection technology and industrial cooperation in Yangtze River Economic Zone, Bohai Rim, Pearl River Delta and Central Henan urban clusters so as to support green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
2. We will step up coordination and supporting efforts and strengthen capacity building on environment protection. We will promote the incorporation of green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative into local social and economic development plans, plan industrial spatial layout in a sound way, formulate strict environmental protection systems and advance local industrial transformation and upgrading and green economic development. We will focus on the environment oversight and governance capacity building in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Guangxi and other border regions and driving Jiangsu, Guangdong, Shaanxi, Fujian and other provinces and regions along the ‘Belt and Road’ route to enhance green development. We will also encourage regions to actively participate in multilateral and bilateral environmental protection cooperation, encourage the establishment of provincial and city level international partnerships, actively innovate cooperation modes, and facilitate the formation of a favorable situation featuring integration of central and local government efforts, government-enterprise coordination and support by think tanks.
IV. Organizational guarantee
(i) Strengthen organization and coordination. We will establish and improve comprehensive mechanisms for coordination and implementation, strengthen multi-level and multi-channel communication, exchanges and positive interaction among government departments, between central government and local governments, and among government, enterprises and the general public, with division of labor featuring well-defined accountability, coordinated advancement and detailed work plans so as to ensure the implementation of relevant plans and measures by different departments, regions and project executing agencies and enterprise.
(ii) Consolidate fund guarantee. We will encourage qualified ‘Belt and Road’ green projects to apply for support from the existing capital (funding) channels such as national green development fund and PPP financing support fund according to procedures. We will also play the guiding role of the existing financial institutions such as China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China in forming multi-channel investment system and long-term mechanism featuring integrated utilization of funds from the central and local governments and the society. We will make use of unique advantages of policy-based financial institutions in guiding and channeling the funds of various parties to jointly support the development of green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative. We will continue to provide positive support for ‘Belt and Road’ green projects through the existing international multilateral and bilateral cooperative institutions and funds, such as Silk Road Fund, South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, China-Central and Eastern Europe Investment Cooperation Fund, China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund, Special Fund for Asian Regional Cooperation and LMC Special Fund.
(iii) Reinforce talent team building. We will build a green ‘Belt and Road’ intellectual support system and build new-type think tanks for ‘Green Silk Road’; innovate and perfect talent cultivation mechanism and focus on training inter-disciplinary talents who have international perspectives, grasp international rules and well understand environmental protection business, with greater supporting efforts to the talents for the green ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
Source:SCO Environment Information Sharing Platform