The Brief “Environmental Aspects of the Belt and Road Projects
in Central Asia”
On 29th of September, a webinar dedicated to presentation of the Brief “Environmental Aspects of the Belt and Road Projects in Central Asia” was held. The organizers of the meeting: Social Environmental Fund (SEF) and Civil Society Development Association (ARGO).
The goal of the meeting was to present the Brief, discuss conclusions and recommendations for the government authorities of Central Asian (CA) countries and China, as well as suggestions for the region’s community.
More than 40 public representatives from all the five CA countries, academia, international experts and journalists attended the webinar. One of its objectives was joint planning of further steps to improve the situation with environmental assessment of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in the region.
The authors of the Brief in their speeches highlighted briefly the situation with the environmental aspect of China’s investment projects implementation in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, together with an overall assessment of BRI environmental perspectives and the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor experience.
The situation overview with environmental assessment of BRI projects in CA shows that one of the main problems is timely and full access to information within the framework of the environmental assessment procedure. Currently, the ‘green’ component of BRI is based on voluntary guiding principles. Therefore, efficiency of environmental BRI project management in CA depends now on political readiness and ability of the countries to support, introduce and apply strict environmental laws and regulations. It is necessary to start with disseminating information and conducting an open and effective environmental assessment of BRI projects, and also strategic environmental assessment of large-scale infrastructure and transboundary projects. Almost all countries in the region, except Uzbekistan, are parties to the Aarhus Convention, and strict compliance with its provisions will add to increasing effectiveness of BRI projects environmental assessment.
Upon the results of the webinar, the organizers and participants agreed to continue discussing the problem and promote the wide dissemination of the Brief and recommendations both in CA countries and outside the region.
SEF is an environmental public organization, member of EcoForum CSO in Kazakhstan, that over 10 years has been working in Central Asia on climate change, environmental journalism and environmental initiatives support. The Brief was prepared as part of implementation of the Environmental Assessment of the Belt and Road Initiative project with the support of the U.S. Embassy to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
By this initiative the environmental community strives to make own contribution to the establishment of a constructive dialogue and business discussion of the BRI projects implementation in the region.
You can read the draft Brief in Russian here.
The webinar stream in Russian and English available here.