Geneva, 23 May – The Roundtable on Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Abroad was held today 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.

The roundtable was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the Research Center of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of China. More than 100 participants from the private sector, government agencies, international organizations, academia, and civil society attended the event to discuss how Chinese investment can be better leveraged for the sustainable development of BRI countries.

“If the BRI will success in incorporating sustainability principles into a broad range of investments and interventions that go beyond traditional development aid, it can really be a game-changer for the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” said Maria Luisa Silva, Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva.

In light of the growing economic engagement between Chinese enterprises and the world, as well as the potential for development inherent in these investments, there is an emerging need to continue strengthen the mutual understanding between Chinese enterprises and key stakeholders in terms of the national policies and regulations, interests and concerns presented by local communities, and best practices shared by the other investors.

“It is critical to continuously assess and map out the opportunities and demands in relation to resources that Chinese companies could offer – resources not only in terms of financial capital, but also technology, skills and expertise, experiences, and even social networks” said Agi Veres, Country Director of UNDP China, “At UNDP China, we are proud to support in initiating dialogues and building exchange platforms between different Chinese actors and developing countries, to better align supply and demand for development support through Chinese investments abroad.”

With about 100 international organizations and a vibrant private sector, the concentration of financial resources, human capital, and institutional know-how truly made Geneva a conducive space for innovation and collective action on the SDGs, as well as a unique multilateral testing ground for international cooperation programmes like the BRI.

“Today’s Geneva Roundtable on Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Abroad is the first time when the 2017 Report on the Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Overseas is presented outside China. It helps the international community to gain a better understanding on the effort done by Chinese enterprises in supporting the realization of the 2030 Agenda in Belt and Road countries and regions; it also enhance better integration of Chinese businesses in the host countries, and eventually achieve win-win and sustainable development for all.” said Lu Yongzhen, Deputy Director of the Research Center of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of China.

As a joint publication between UNDP China, the Research Center of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of China (SASAC), and the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) under the Ministry of Commerce, the 2017 Report on the Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Overseas – first launched in May 2017 during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) held in Beijing -  underlines the key role Chinese multinational enterprises will play in assisting in the implementation of the SDGs in countries and regions along the Belt and Road.

The importance of public-private partnerships for driving action towards the Agenda 2030 and the achievement of the SDGs is well recognized by UNDP, and strengthening these partnerships will be crucial in translating commitments into practical actions for transformational change and impact. The Report analyzes the contributions of Chinese multinational enterprises in assisting in the implementation of the SDGs in countries and regions along the Belt and Road, and suggests that Chinese “going global” enterprises have been shown to be capable of advancing the economic and social development of the host countries. However, strategic management for an integrated approach of sustainable business practices can still be improved.

Looking forward, UNDP stands ready to collaborate with all stakeholders to strive towards sustainable growth together, to combat challenges that affect the wellbeing of us all, and to build a community of shared interests, destiny and sustainable responsibility.

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Agi Veres Country Director of UNDP China
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Maria Luisa Silva, Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva.
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