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UNEP promotes greener BRI

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-29 11:21
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As a major forum convenes in Beijing, environmentalists are optimistic that tangible outcomes on a green Belt and Road Initiative will be realized.

This comes on the backdrop of the increasing concerns that the large-scale infrastructure developments along the BRI could have significant environmental challenges.

Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, said the need for infrastructure globally is expected to double in the next 20 years, and that infrastructure investment will come with environmental risks.

Msuya said her agency will consider partnerships due to UNEP's limited capacity. The International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road will thus provide a good partnership platform.

"We will find out how we can work together with the beneficiary countries to support development goals as well as each country specific goals," she said.

"The coalition will be a good platform for bringing BRI beneficiary countries and agencies like UN together, to have a conversation around sustainable development," she added.

She said it is UNEP's role to help countries mitigate environmental risks.

"I long to meet other UN agencies during the BRI forum to see how we can come together as UN family to work with BRI countries to make more sustainable choices for infrastructure investments. We will share experiences and lessons between countries and also within the UN agencies," she said.

She said good practices that have worked in other countries should be shared with others and that green financing should be embraced, because most of the infrastructure investments are long term.

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