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ClientEarth Communications

29th June 2021

China

Training on environmental risks with the largest financial institutions in the Belt and Road Initiative held in Beijing

A training workshop for financial institutions involved in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was held in Beijing on June 24-25, co-organised by ClientEarth.

The two-day interactive event provided a joint learning opportunity to build awareness and capacity on how to deal with climate risks, disclosure, and overseas investments.

It was attended by representatives from some of China’s most influential financial institutions, including the Bank of China, ICBC, the Export-Import Bank of China, the Silk Road Fund, the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the China Agricultural Bank, the China Construction Bank and Ping An Insurance.

Head of ClientEarth China, Dimitri de Boer, said: “China's state-owned financial institutions play a key role in almost all Chinese overseas investment. You have thousands of projects, but only a handful of Chinese financial institutions behind them. As these institutions go green, the whole BRI goes green.”

The workshop was also attended by several officials from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), including Li Yonghong, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry’s Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center, Li Yuanshi, from the Department of EIA and Emission Management, and Lan Yan, Vice Director of the Secretariat of the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC), which is affiliated to the MEE.

The interactive training covered topics including environmental risk in BRI investments, international practices in information disclosure and public participation, tools for environmental impact assessment, and global trends in green and sustainable finance.

The list of speakers included important names such as Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman of the China Green Finance Committee and China’s most prominent expert on green finance; well-known environmental activist and environmental law expert Professor Wang Canfa; Senior Research Fellow at the Central University of Finance and Economics and a director at the International Institute of Green Finance Dr. Christoph Nedopil Wang; as well as Dimitri de Boer.

During his presentation, Dr. Ma Jun observed that “to promote sustainable development in countries along the Belt and Road, it is important to scale up investments, but more important to ensure these investments meet green, sustainable or low carbon standards.

“All of the key financial institutions have signed up to the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road (GIP), which is providing important tools for financial institutions to identify and manage environmental and climate risks.”

The training was the first in a series of events held as part of the “Harmonisation and Capacity Building for Green Finance in Belt and Road Investments” project.

ClientEarth is an implementing partner in this project, alongside the Beijing Institute of Finance and Sustainability and the BRIGC. The project is funded by the UK Partnership for Accelerated Carbon Transition (UK PACT), a capacity-building programme funded by the UK Government, supporting countries around the world to accelerate their climate change mitigation efforts.

The project focuses on the sustainability of the BRI by working with Chinese financial institutions that invest in the BRI countries. Ensuring the environmental and climate sustainability of China’s BRI, the world’s largest infrastructure development programme, can make a major contribution to the global climate transition.

Belt and Road Initiative

Harmonisation and Capacity Building for Green Finance in Belt and Road Investments project partners.

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