China and UK work on Green Belt and Road Initiative

By Sun Wei in London Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/12 23:10:04

View of City of London from Tower Bridge. Photo: Sun Wei/GT

The UK-China Green Finance Showcase Event was held at the City of London on Tuesday, furthering the international collaboration needed to achieve the Green Belt and Road Initiative.

Chaired by Sir Roger Gifford, co-chair of the UK-China Green Finance Centre, the event reviews the current state of the China-UK partnership in green finance and explores what further work can be undertaken in advance of the 2020 UN climate summit, COP26. Participants from China and the UK discussed the Green Belt and Road, ESG Investing, and greening capital markets.

Jason Eris, executive director of Vivid Economics, a leading strategic economics consultancy, said that greening the BRI is needed because BRI countries, especially 17 key countries, will host significant new infrastructure in the coming decade. 

Craig Davies, head of climate resilience investments with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), told the Global Times that at the moment different countries and institutions have different ideas of what "green" means. 

"Our definition of green has three qualities: decarbonisation, building climate resilience, and other environmental qualities," Davies said, adding that the legislation is happening within particular countries, in particular economic blocs and particular regions. 

In 2018, China and the UK jointly published the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road. These voluntary principles aim to harmonize green infrastructure standards along the BRI, to increase the use of green financial products, and ultimately to vastly reduce the emissions footprint of the BRI.

Catherine McGuinness, chair of policy and resources with the City of London Corporation, commented in an earlier report that greening the BRI is a long-term vision. Partnership between China and the UK provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set industry standards and mobilize private sector capital to accelerate a global low carbon transition.

According to the report published by the City of London in September, China, a key trade partner and investor in many BRI countries, is in a natural position to shape the green growth of BRI trade corridors. The UK, with its concentration of 250 foreign banks, provides a global platform for multilateral development banks and private sector players to co-finance major BRI projects. The UK's professional services, insurance and maritime firms also provide critical support for BRI deals' robust financing structures and ensure that risks are well mitigated and diversified.

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