Co-hosts: National Forest and Grassland State Administration of China, Mondi, Futuragene-Suzano, WWF-China, WWF-Russia
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) promises to be the biggest infrastructure programme in history – and NGP is responding with our most ambitious study tour ever. The NGP Trans-Siberian Green Belt Road study tour will take us on a symbolic journey by train from Beijing to Irkutsk. As we travel from the Chinese capital, across Inner Mongolia and into Siberia, we aim to explore how the BRI can contribute to a vision of 21st century “ecological civilisation”.
The BRI offers huge opportunities for development and closer cooperation between countries but also poses major environmental risks. Plantations can help to ensure that development is resilient, low-carbon and sustainable, and that it delivers benefits to the people living nearby – often in harsh environments with limited opportunities.
It’s estimated that BRI-related investments will be worth more than US$900 million. Through its Greening the Belt Road initiative, WWF wants to see strong action from governments and commitments from financial institutions to mitigate the environmental risks of BRI investments, such as ecological corridors and protected areas. At the same time, there’s a need to channel more of this investment into initiatives – like sustainable plantations – that deliver climate and other environmental benefits.
The study tour will kick off in Beijing looking into how BRI-related investments can create opportunities for green investment. NGP will share its participants’ experience, such as Suzano’s green bonds in Brazil which have successfully raised nearly a billion dollars to finance projects with measurable positive environmental impacts.
Next, we will travel into the drylands through which much of the BRI passes. China has planted hundreds of thousands of hectares of trees in an attempt to hold back the spread of the desert. Through the Three-North Shelter Forest Programme and FuturaGene’s plantations of yellowhorn, the study tour will analyse how planting trees to restore land, combat desertification and sequester carbon can also provide an economic benefit for local people.
The study tour will end up in Irkutsk on the shores of the Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. This will be an opportunity to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Russian Boreal Forest platform and understand how Chinese investment is changing forest management in the region towards a sustainable intensification model.
Join us, and be part of this amazing debate. More information soon.