Plenary Session of the BRI International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC)
Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator
Banquet Hall, Ground Floor, Xiyuan Hotel
10:00-11:30 am, 25 April 2019 (Thursday)
Mr. Li Ganjie, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China,
Fellow colleagues from the BRI International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC),
It is my honor to join you at the plenary session, as the Advisor of the Coalition, to prepare for its launch this afternoon.
Since its inception in 1945, one of the main priorities of the United Nations has been to improve people’s well-being through international cooperation. Only two decades ago, close to 40 per cent of the population of the developing world lived in extreme poverty. Since then, the world has halved extreme poverty. In 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It calls for action to promote prosperity and address social needs while at the same time tackling climate change and ensuring environmental protection.
Successful implementation of the ambitious 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs depends on strengthened international cooperation at global, regional, national and sub-national levels, by all the stakeholders of society. The BRI could potentially play a significant role in closing the infrastructure financing gap, especially leveraging private financing for development, if designed and implemented in line with principles of sustainability.
The BRI brings significant opportunities for accelerating progress on the SDGs, but also risks. We should bear in our mind the call from the Paris Agreement, to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. With any such large-scale development comes significant environmental challenges, including potential climate change risks. If the BRI investments lock countries into unsustainable infrastructure, technology, and resource extraction, it might lead to long-lasting negative environmental and climate change consequences. For the BRI to fulfill its potential as a positive contributor to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, BRI investments must not only produce economic growth but also promote inclusive rural transformation and generate inclusive and sustainable social and environmental development.
Till today, some 20 UN agencies have signed cooperation agreements with the Government of China on the BRI. Some agencies have launched concrete activities including on policy dialogue, research, financing, public engagement, and capacity development projects. Around 20 high-level UN officials, including the UN Secretary-General, are attending the 2nd BRF. These reiterate our common commitment to cooperate to create synergies between the BRI and the SDGs and maximize the benefits/development dividends from the BRI investments and to ensure that BRI fulfills its potential to act as an accelerator for achievement of the SDGs within their context, leaving no one behind.
Therefore, we are glad to see the establishment of the Coalition, one of the avenues for increasing the environmental sustainability of the BRI. I welcome the intent to make the Coalition an open, inclusive and voluntary international network, bringing together the environmental expertise of all partners. This will ensure that the BRI contributes to long-term green and sustainable development to all concerned countries in support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.