Why to Establish the Innovation and Development Center for BRI
—Interview with Relevant Responsible Leader of the Department of
International Cooperation of NDRC
On April 9th, the Innovation and Development Center for BRI, established by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the China Development Bank (CDB), was unveiled in Beijing.
What are the reasons for establishing the Innovation and Development Center for BRI? What role will the Center play in building the Belt and Road Initiative? How to evaluate the cooperation between NDRC and the UNDP? Our reporter interviewed Li Bin, First-Class Counsel (DG-level) of the Department of International Cooperation of NDRC.
Co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative provides a new model
Reporter: UNDP is the first international organization to sign the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation agreement with the Chinese government. How to evaluate the cooperation between NDRC and UNDP?
A: UNDP is the largest multilateral institution for technical assistance in the world, and China is the largest developing country. These two have maintained a close and cooperative relationship for a long time. UNDP makes full use of its advantages such as expert resources and national networks and promotes the high-quality development of China's economy through technical assistance and capacity building.
The cooperative concepts such as the five connectivity areas (Wu Tong) and three principles of shared consultation, shared construction, and mutual benefit (San Gong) of BRI are highly consistent with the core purpose of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. After President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, UNDP was the first international organization to sign the BRI cooperation agreement with the Chinese government. NDRC and UNDP signed the MOU and action plan to promote the construction of BRI in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Under the guidance of these two cooperation documents, in April 2018, the two sides set up a joint working group to jointly promote the construction of BRI and held the first meeting of the joint working group, which made the cooperation between the two sides institutionalized, standardized, more pragmatic and more efficient.
Under the guidance of these documents between the two sides and the vigorous coordination and promotion of the joint working group, a series of important early gains have been made in the co-construction of BRI. Such as the High-level Policy Forum on Global Governance, "Science and Technology Contributes to Disaster Reduction-'the Belt and Road Initiative' Capacity Building Project", the BRI joint training course just started on April 7 this year, and the Innovation and Development Center for BRI established today. The two sides have explored and formed a set of pragmatic and efficient cooperation modes for jointly building BRI, providing a brand-new mode and classic template for international organizations to participate in the construction of BRI.
Taking two years for the establishment, “the circle of friends” is getting bigger and bigger
Reporter: NDRC cooperated with CDB and UNDP to set up the Innovation and Development Center for BRI. What is the background? What processes have gone through?
A: In 2019, President Xi Jinping proposed in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations in the field of development and strive to narrow the development gap. To implement the spirits of the President's important speech, NDRC and UNDP jointly launched the BRI Innovation and Development Platform Construction Project and authorized CDB to implement it by the Innovation and Development Center for BRI under the project, which was included in the list of summit results.
Since then, NDRC, CDB, and UNDP have conducted several rounds of fruitful consultations on the platform construction project, and jointly prepared for the Center.
Thanks to the joint efforts of many parties, the "circle of friends" of platform construction project is getting bigger and bigger. We have also successfully invited the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UN-Habitat, and the World Economic Forum as partners to participate in innovative development research. Now, after two years, the Center has finally been established, which is not easy.
Sharing best practices and promoting pragmatic cooperation
Reporter: What aspects will the the Innovation and Development Center for BRI play?
A: As the executive body of the Belt and Road Initiative Innovation and Development Platform Project, the Center aims to give full play to the policy guidance and overall coordination advantages of NDRC, the advantages of CDB's "financing+intelligence integration" and UNDP's advanced experience and international resource on international sustainable development. The Center is to realize the synergy between the BRI construction and the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and promote the joint construction of BRI to achieve stable, far-reaching, and high-quality development. Specifically, the Center will play an active role in the following areas:
First, the innovation research in the related fields of BRI. Through the establishment of country analysis and database, combined with the practical experience of project operation and consultation, the Center will innovatively study the major issues existing in the construction of BRI, such as institutional mechanism, investment and financing modes, investment risks, safety assessment, and sustainable development.
Second, the whole process consultation of pilot projects. By combining the international network and investment and financing of CDB with the international network and expert resources of UNDP, the whole process consultation of the Belt and Road Initiative project is carried out, including planning docking, financing plan design, risk analysis, project evaluation, project pilot promotion, etc.
Third, the partnership platform of global stakeholders. By organizing dialogues, activities, forums, and seminars, etc., the Center will provide a platform for all stakeholders in the construction of BRI to communicate and voice, enhance mutual understanding, share best practices and promote pragmatic cooperation.
Fourth, training and capacity building at the global level. The Center will build a platform for policy discussion and capacity building, providing training services and intellectual support to all stakeholders of BRI by relying on the advantages of the UNDP global network and international experts. (Reporter: Li Shaohui, China Reform Daily)