Beijing, 27 February 2019 - The regional workshop on “Understanding and Assessing the Potential Macroeconomic Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on Asian Economies” kicked off today in Beijing, China. Organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in cooperation with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the workshop aims to address the how the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative can contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda while managing the potential risks of the Initiative.
“This joint workshop is a major step forward for the broader UN system’s engagement on assessing and advancing the B&R Initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We hope the insights and ideas from this workshop will further feed into the critical thinking of the upcoming Belt and Road Forum in April,” stated Ms. Agi Veres, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP China in her welcoming remarks.
“Quality development is equally important for both China and countries along the Belt and Road. We need to improve our development patterns to strengthen the synergies between the BRI and the SDGs,” said Dr. Sen Gong, Executive Vice-President, Center for International Knowledge on Development, Development Research Center.
This workshop builds on the in-depth B&R Initiative-related research conducted by UN DESA and UNDP. UN DESA is partnering with national governments in implementing a multi-country project “Strengthening national policy capacities for jointly building the Belt and Road towards the Sustainable Development Goals” (BRI-SDGs Project), which has been piloted in eleven countries since July 2018, namely Bangladesh, Cambodia, Czech, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It utilizes the World Economic Forecasting Model developed by DESA and tailored to national contexts to assess the macroeconomic impact of the initiative in various countries.
The workshop also highlights UNDP’s B&R Initiative-related research and programmatic activities with a focus on the sustainable development of countries along the B&R. In particular, UNDP is promoting a sustainable B&R Initiative through a forthcoming paper recommending the harmonization of the B&R Initiative-wide financing and investments standards; papers on the B&R Initiative risk assessment and mitigation; a start-up funding initiative strengthening partner countries’ capacity on B&R engagement; and its pilot project to create a platform for sustainable investment promotion in Ethiopia.
“While the B&R Initiative has huge potential to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development, we need policy coordination to realize such potential within and across various economic sectors and social groups. This will require careful analyses of the potential socio-economic impacts to inform the policy-makers and to ensure that the Initiative can help countries accelerate their advancement towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda thereby providing equitable and sustainable benefits to all,” said Mr. Namsuk Kim, Projects Coordinator from UN DESA.
The workshop provides a platform for exchanging views and finding results from the experience and research activities undertaken by UN DESA and UNDP. It also contributes to strengthening the capacities of participating experts on impact assessment and modelling analysis on major regional initiatives like the B&R Initiative. According to Mr. Runsinarith Phim, DESA national consultant from Cambodia, “In this big-data era, empirical evidence becomes increasingly important for decision-makers. Such research and capacity development projects could build much-needed national capacity in data collection and analysis, so that we can better assess various policy options that may impact national goals and development priorities.”
The UN’s engagement on the B&R Initiative is primarily aimed at aligning its implementation more closely with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This workshop is among the first instances of joint BRI-related activities by UN Agencies, which enables the UN’s engagement to more effectively serve the sustainable development objectives of all countries along the Belt and Road, and maximize their potential to achieve the SDGs.
Over 40 officials and development experts from both China and over 10 other B&R Initiative partner countries participated in the workshop.
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