Participants agreed to strengthen connectivity in an open world economy, build a Green Silk Road for living in harmony with nature, and develop a digital economy as a new source of growth.
China’s President Xi Jinping announced eight major steps China will take in support of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
China’s President Xi Jinping convened the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, marking the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Forum participants shared an expectation that the BRI will continue to promote international cooperation, boost global economic growth, and accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Meeting in Beijing, China, on 18 October 2023, the Forum focused on the theme, ‘High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity.’
In a series of high-level sessions, participants agreed to strengthen connectivity in an open world economy, build a Green Silk Road for living in harmony with nature, and develop a digital economy as a new source of growth. According to the Chair’s Statement of the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the main takeaways from thematic discussions include promoting unimpeded trade, enhancing maritime cooperation, promoting a Clean Silk Road, strengthening think tank exchanges, enhancing people-to-people exchanges, and strengthening subnational cooperation. Multilateral and practical cooperation deliverables annexed to the Chair’s Statement list 89 items and 369 concrete outcomes, respectively.
Addressing participants during the opening ceremony, President Xi said “win-win cooperation is the sure way to success in launching major initiatives that benefit all.” Highlighting the BRI’s successes in building a global network of connectivity that includes economic corridors, international transportation routes, and an information highway, as well as railways, roads, airports, ports, pipelines, and power grids, he announced eight major steps China will take in support of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation:
- Build a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity network;
- Support an open world economy;
- Carry out practical cooperation;
- Promote green development;
- Advance scientific and technological innovation;
- Support people-to-people exchanges;
- Promote integrity-based Belt and Road cooperation; and
- Strengthen institution building for international Belt and Road cooperation.
In his remarks to the Forum, UN Secretary-General Antόnio Guterres described infrastructure as “the foundation of everyday life for people and economies,” emphasizing that without it, “there can be no development.” He highlighted the BRI’s potential to contribute to two key action areas: advancing economic sustainability in developing countries; and advancing environmental sustainability. Together, the Secretary-General urged, “we can turn the infrastructure emergency into an infrastructure opportunity, supercharge the [SDGs], and deliver hope and progress for billions of people and the planet we share.”
Speaking at the High-level Forum on the Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature, Guterres said the Green Silk Road can help “deliver the green, sustainable infrastructure countries need to support people and ecosystems alike.” He highlighted investments flowing from the Green Silk Road as “an important opportunity to fast-track sustainable and climate-resilient development to protect lives and livelihoods,” and stressed the need to ensure that any new infrastructure investments “turbocharge a just and sustainable transition away from … fossil fuels towards renewable energy.”
The Forum brought together leaders from Argentina, Cambodia, Chile, the Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hungary, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Russian Federation, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Viet Nam. High-level representatives from France, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as representatives from more than 150 countries were also in attendance. [Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation] [UN News Story]