The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an international cooperation initiative that aims to advance global and regional connectivity. Its main objective is to increase connectivity between China and other countries through infrastructure and other connectivity related investments, policy coordination, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds. It entails large financing and investment flows to BRI partner countries for these purposes, as well as other cooperation mechanisms.
With the aim of achieving mutually beneficial outcomes for developing countries and global public goods, UNDP positioned from early on to have a state-level and strategic partnership on the BRI. A Memorandum of Understanding (September 2016) and a concrete Action Plan (May 2017) were signed between UNDP and China as a framework for cooperation
In April 2018, the first high-level meeting of the UNDP-China Joint Working Group on BRI was held with an updated list of projects to be recognized as deliverables of the UNDP-Government of China cooperation and presented officially at the Belt and Road Forum in 2019.
Why does UNDP engage?
Accelerate the SDGs
UNDP holds the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of its mandate and welcomes all efforts that have the potential to accelerate their achievement on a global scale, including the BRI. Given its massive financing flows and investments in infrastructure, institutional capacities and people, the BRI can significantly contribute to unlocking important resources, and to enhancing sustainable human development in partner countries.
UNDP is therefore committed to achieving mutually beneficial outcomes for developing countries through the initiative and ensuring that their needs are responded to.
Financing for Sustainable Development
The BRI provides an effective platform for the delivery of ﬁnance in the form of loans, grants and investments to help meet the funding gap and infrastructure needs to finance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
'Greening' the BRI
Due to its massive scale, the BRI will have an enormous impact upon global economic development and efforts to combat climate change. A low-carbon BRI could make a pivotal contribution towards achieving global decarbonization, safeguarding the goals of the Paris Agreement and meeting the environmental targets of the 2030 Agenda. The BRI provides ample space for innovative solutions to such worldwide challenges as it supports eﬃcient and effective public and private investment. Ensuring that the initiative is 'green' is critical to its success.
How does UNDP Engage?
UNDP’s engagement in the BRI is primarily aimed at assisting BRI partner countries to achieve their sustainable development goals by using the opportunities provided by BRI in a way that is in line with their development strategies. Led by the China Country Office, UNDP’s support through advisory services, technical assistance, capacity building, and pilot projects is structured around the following four areas:
Policy Support and Evidence-based Research
Fostering Sustainable Development through Chinese Overseas Economic and Trade Cooperation Zones along the Belt and Road
2019 Report on Chinese Overseas Cooperation Zones
This report reviews the contributions of COCZs to sustainable development across Belt and Road countries and provides guidelines for COCZs on how to further improve their efforts towards fostering inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and the achievement of the SDGs. Read More
Sustainable Development of Chinese Private-Owned Enterprises along the Belt and Road
2019 Report on the Sustainable Development of Chinese POEs along the Belt and Road
Private-Owned Enterprises (POEs), representing the vast majority of China’s economy, are expanding their global presence and shouldering more responsibilities in implementing and promoting the global development agenda under the Belt and Road Initiative. Read More
Enhancing Economic Development and the SDGs along the Belt and Road 2017
The Economic Development along the Belt and Road 2017
This report addresses the need for a framework to analyse BRI’s complexity. It suggests that with a shared vision, the BRI can create a viable model for long-term, sustainable economic growth, as long as the Sustainable Development Goals are given a central role in the BRI’s quest for economic prosperity. Read More
Sustainable Investment and Finance
Sustainable Investment Promotion (SIP) Facilities along the Belt and Road
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has great potential as a global public good and as an accelerator for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read More >
Chinese Private Sector Joins Forces to Advance Global Sustainable Development
The Roundtable on Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Abroad was held in Geneva, aiming to create an enabling environment for a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its substantial investments create for realizing the 2030 agenda. Read More >
Chinese Enterprises Overseas, Sustainable Development and the Belt and Road Initiative
Country Engagement and Capacity Building
Sharing China’s Experience to Build Back Better
A workshop aimed at facilitating knowledge exchange and providing developing countries a platform to draw expertise and technology from China’s experience in disaster recovery. Read More >
Bringing Together China’s Low-Carbon Development and Financing Solutions
UNDP supported the exchange of experience of developing countries and facilitated dialogue on how China’s low-carbon solutions and development financing may benefit countries along the Belt and Road. Read More >
Lancang-Mekong Regional Capacity Building
UNDP partnered with the National Development Reform Commissions and the China Development Bank to facilitate a training program for senior officials from 6 Lancang-Mekong countries. The knowledge and experience sharing seminar focused on connectivity, poverty reduction and production capacity cooperation.
Technology for Resilience along the Belt and Road
This project aims to provide better tech-based solutions for disaster risk information as part of the early warning system, as well as the accuracy of post-disaster damage assessments to enhance countries’ disaster preparedness and response capacities. Read More >
Partnerships and Networks
Global network and partnership building are deeply embedded in UNDP’s BRI engagement. UNDP has anchored the strategic partnership with China with the leading group on BRI, including the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China Development Bank (CDB) and China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA). UNDP also engages with other key government entities, financial institutions, Chinese and international think tanks, media, social organizations, and international NGOs.
The 2018 High Level Policy Forum on Global Governance (part of the Global Governance Initiative) facilitated tangible exchanges, and created a strong network and forward-looking consensus on sustainable finance and investments along the Belt and Road. Read More >
UNDP gives a shot in the arm to Belt and Road
By Nicholas Rosellini-Our world is still facing major challenges. While great strides have been made in reducing extreme poverty, social progress and environmental sustainability are threatened by rising inequality and climate change.
Harmonized Standards Can Make Belt and Road a Driver to Attain SDGs
By Xu Haoliang - Given China's size and the far-reaching scope of the BRI, applying and consistently enforcing standards along the entire Belt and Road could play a critical role in driving the change toward more sustainable infrastructure investment, and indeed, toward global sustainable development.
Secretary-General’s remarks at the opening of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum
"The five pillars of the Belt and Road – policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people exchanges – are intrinsically linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals."
UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Director Haoliang Xu remarks at 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Thematic Forum on Economic and Trade Cooperation Zones
"Chinese Overseas Economic and Trade Cooperation Zones in BRI partner countries serve as platforms for attracting public and private investments that advance infrastructure development, industrialization and job creation."