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Speech by Mr. Patrick Haverman, UNDP Deputy Country Director in China, at the 9th IRMCL





Honorable Vice-Chairman Zheng Wantong, Honorable Vice-Chairman Li Yizhong, Honorable Director General Tian Jinchen, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,


A very good afternoon to all. Today we come together to highlight and discuss the critical role of the private sector and achieving common prosperity, win-win cooperation, and sustainable development for all through the Belt and Road initiative. The Belt and Road initiative has indeed become a key dimension in China’s strategic plan for the following years. And today I would like to talk about a crucial aspect of the Belt and Road initiative that is developing dividends of this initiative which goes beyond economic gains and links closely with long term sustainability.


Last year, President Xi with another hundred state leaders traveled to New York to agree on the sustainable development goals, seventeen goals which are going to guide the planet for the next fifteen years. But we say in China, we have the thirteenth five-year plan. In the world, we have the second fifteen year plan. The seventy goals set out a universal integrated and transformative vision for the next fifteen years covering three main areas economic, social, and environmental development. These goals officially will guide our world to end poverty, fight inequality, and tickle climate change and to build a better world together.


A few months ago, the government of China also announced its national strategy for the implementation of the 2013 agenda for sustainable development. In parallel, China launched late 2013 the initiative of jointly building the Belt and Road. Through Belt and Road initiative, China has put forward a far reaching and innovative economic development framework reaching across more than seventy countries and regions globally and advocating win-win cooperation for shared development and prosperity through enhancing mutual understanding trust and exchanges. To be more specific, the BRI, has identified five priority areas for cooperation, policy coordination, facilities connectivity, pending trade, financial integration and people to people exchange. As the Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized earlier, the BRI is aimed to build a green silk road that practices concepts of green development, a healthy silk road with strengthened and health and medical cooperation, an intelligent silk road that promotes talent development and exchanges, and lastly a peaceful Silk Road that enhances governance. We have the global sustainable development framework and we have China's commitment to boost cross country cooperation. But what are the linkages between the Belt and Road initiative and sustainable development goals? How can they work together to seize the opportunity and to maximize the positive impact?


First, we think one of the core of the BRI is that it strategically targets development gaps. It helps strengthen network effect backward and forward linkages and it improves access to global markets to supply chains to financing and to technical and management know-how. It provides a framework that can boost STG implementation, and accelerate the progress of achieving shared development goals.


The second point is that the BRI economic objectives can be complemented by environmental and social sustainability. The Belt and Road initiative can win the hearts and minds in partner countries, if it’s seen to support not only economic gains but also long term sustainable human development.


Third, the sustainable development goals, does not offer only a common vision and universal language for all countries facilitating effective dialogue but it has also169 targets and indicators  represent a framework for consciously measuring and monitoring the progress of the Belt and Road initiative. Both the Belt and Road initiative and the STGs have put an emphasis on cross-sector collaboration and the private sector place a vital role in both initiatives. Considering that up to now, around seventy countries have already engaged in this initiative. We can estimate that the Belt and Road initiative might involve four and a half billion people with a total economic value of twenty trillion dollars. Those numbers signify how this initiative touches on important economic aspects and the private sector will be particularly crucial to generate growth, bring new investment create, business opportunities and also leverage in other financing for developments. On the other and the private sector not only serves to push economic growth but it’s also key in contributing to social and environmental development.


Today, Chinese companies are the third largest investors in the world. Their direct investments overseas reach one hundred twenty three billion dollars in 2014 and they are key actors in the Belt and Road investment projects. However to guarantee success of Chinese investment in businesses and thus the success of the Belt and Road initiative, the private sector should address a number of practical challenges. These include mitigating and managing negative environmental impact building effective communication with the stake holders to assure their investments matches with the real needs and understanding and considering local context. By taking sustainable development into account and imbedding it into your business strategies, companies can increase their competitive edge, advance their market share, fuel innovation and new profit areas, and boost stakeholder value. In addition, sustainable business practices was also contribute to the improvement of the livelihood of the countries along the Belt and Road promoting eventually regional stability and mutual trust.


As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon once said sustainable development is not charity. It's a smart investment sustainable development goal offers an extraordinary pipeline for investment and a platform in which responsible business can thrive. Both Belt and Road initiative and the sustainable development goals are indeed bold and ambitious and neither of them can be achieved by them alone, by anybody alone. By embracing the core strategy of the Belt and Road initiative, they can help create new opportunities in actualizing development and building connections toward shared prosperity for countries and people involved.


United Nations development program, we bring fifty years of development expertise and we have a global network in a hundred seventy countries and his message, in the congratulatory message of the Secretary General we are very proud that recently, the head of our organization Helen Clark signed a memorandum of understanding with the NDRC to work together including the human development aspect in the Belt and Road initiative. Finally, through our country office network all over the countries on the Belt and Road initiative, we’re also ready to work with the private sector to see how we can advance human development in all the seventy countries. So once again thank you for your attention and I wish you a fruitful deliberations.