In 2013, China announced its vision for the creation of the 21st century Silk Road, and momentum around this massive international infrastructure development program has been building ever since. The new Silk Road program, termed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a significant international initiative with global support and investment. Total estimated investment in BRI is reportedly on the scale of $1 trillion. This effort in many ways is a continuation and acceleration of China’s ongoing investment around the world.
There are dozens of countries involved in the development of the BRI. It currently includes infrastructure projects such as: roads and highways, trains, energy infrastructure (power stations, wind farms, oil pipelines etc.), ports, extractive industry infrastructure (mines, logging), and information technology infrastructure. This effort may expand over time.
Duke has developed a research collaboration platform for the university community to explore what will make China’s pledge for a "green" BRI a reality. Coordinated by the Nicholas Institute and Duke Kunshan University, the platform has two aims:
- To provide recommendations for the design of infrastructure investments that will help ensure the best possible environmental and social outcomes
- To communicate best environmental practices to stakeholders and decision makers in China and BRI countries
The Nicholas Institute’s Role
- Coalition Member, International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road
- Constructing Africa’s Future: The Environmental and Social Implications of Chinese-Financed Infrastructure in Africa
- Spatial Solutions Workshop
- Reducing Environmental Risks from Belt and Road Initiative Investments in Transportation Infrastructure (World Bank working paper)
- The Deforestation Risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (The Brookings Institution blog post)
- Is a Green Belt and Road feasible? How to mitigate the environmental risk of BRI Infrastructure Project (World Bank blog post)
- Duke University and Duke Kunshan University together have a variety of related projects and events at the Belt and Road Initiative site.
- Read a three-part series on the Belt and Road Initiative