We have launched E-mail Alert service,subscribers can receive the latest catalogues free of charge

You Are Here: Home > Reports

Deepen Think-tanks Cooperation and Jointly Build Silk Roads


Silk Roads: Inspirations and Opportunities

12/12/2014,Istanbul, Turkey

Deepen Think-tanks Cooperation and Jointly Build Silk Roads

Dr. Cheng Guoqiang

Senior Fellow, Director-general, Department of International Cooperation, Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC)

As a joint project beneficial to the economic development in all participating countries, the Belt and Road initiative is the cause for all. In order to promote its building, what is essential to this endeaver is to facilitate mutual connectivity in such five domains as policy communication, facility connection, undisrupted trade flow, financing availability and people-to-people exchanges. Of all these five domains, policy communication serves as the fundamental guarantee to ensure mutual connectivity. Equiped with professional reseach capability and impacts on governments and the public, think-tanks can contribute a lot to facilitating policy communication between parcipating countries and enhancing mutual understanding between government and the public. Then what role should think-tanks play in the Belt and Road initiative? In what way should it play the role? And how should we strengthen the communication and cooperation between think-tanks? I would like to share with you two ideas.

1. First, deepening think-tanks cooperation is needed to jointly build the Belt and the Road.

As Mr. Li Wei, the president of DRC, pointed out, the core idea of the Belt and Road initiative is openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win results. Then, how to realize win-win results by building the Belt and Road? The first point we must understand is what our respective "interests" are, and in what way can we realize "win-win" results?

Obviously, only by means of in-depth communication can all participants learn the respective intentions and wishes, and understand the respective interests and difficulties. And only in this way can we locate the meeting point of all parties' interests, seek approaches to mutual benefit and win-win results, and then make corresponding policies and measures so as to solve problems and realize mutual benefit and win-win results.

Generally speaking, think-tanks have the advantages of professional knowledge and research capabilities as well as an independent and detached position. Therefore, they can play unique roles in policy communication between countries. For example, in Europe and America, where regional cooperation goes well, think-tanks engage in close communication and cooperation, playing important roles in policy communication and coordination. Think-tanks not only help governments in formulating policies based on their professional research, but also publicize research findings via all kinds of media, help enterprises, social organizations and the public to understand government policies, and play significant roles in narrowing cognitive gaps between countries. Therefore, in the process of promoting the building of the Belt and Road, all think-tanks present can play critical roles in bulding mutual trust, dissolving doubts, learning from each other, policy communication and coordination and advancing practical cooperation.

From the historical perspective, the Silk Road serves as the model of communication between countries. Europeans and Asians can be called the pioneers of knowledge communication and mutual learning. However, as time goes by, we lag far behind Europe and America in knowledge communication and policy communication, which, to a certain degree, has impeded the common development of Asia. We may be confronted with many difficulties and challenges to build a harmonious, prosperous and sustainable Belt and Road. Deepening think-tanks cooperation calls for overcoming difficulties, handling challenges, enhancing mutual understanding between governments and the public, dissolving doubts and misunderstanding, advancing innovative thinking, consulting on policy-making, communication and program designing.

2. Deepen think-tanks cooperation and jointly build the Silk Road Think-tank Network (SRTN).

We have to ponder seriously about how think-tanks in different countries can strengthen cooperation, start effective and lasting communication and cooperation in building the Belt and Road.

The Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC) is an institution of policy research and consulting under the direct leadership of the State Council. Its main duty is to do research on the comprehensive, strategic, long-standing, and prospective topics and hotspot and difficult issues pertinent to national economy, social development and reform and opening-up. In recent two years, Chinese Government has entrusted DRC with two significant functions. One is to interprete China's major public policies to the public and the international coummunity; the other is to conduct a third-party assessment on reform schemes, major policies and implementation results related with China's economic and social development. Founded in 1981, the early years of China's reform and opening up, the growth of DRC is closely related with reform and opening up. It has done a lot of groundbreaking work in enhancing China's reform, opening up and development. DRC has partnered with many international organizations in research projects of important policy value and international influence such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Trade Organization, World Health Oraganization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as relevant think-tanks. At present, DRC has established inter-institutional cooperative ties with 23 foreign think-tanks including the think-tanks of Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, India and Singapore which are the countries in Belt and Road initiative. In addition, communication and cooperation between DRC and think-tanks of India, France and the UK have been included into the country-to-country bilateral cooperation mechanism.

More than 30 years of DRC's experience of policy research show that exchange and cooperation between think-tanks provide important channels and support for us to learn development experience from other countries. For example, a substantial part of DRC's policy research reports are the results of studying and learning from international experience. At the present time when some achievements have been made in China's ecomomic development, DRC is willing to share both experience and lessons with other developing countries so as to promote common development and prosperity of all countries.

At present, DRC is doing preparatory work for the Center for International Knowledge Development (CIKD). Its main task is to systematically summarize and share experience in successful development in China and other developed countries. In the meantime, we'll make it a platform for think-tanks of all countries to exchange development knowledge. Moreover, its role shall be given full play to provide intellectual support for the common development of all countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative.

There are many representatives of think-tanks present at today's symposium. I'd like to take this opportunity to put forward a proposal. We hope to initiate the SilK Road Think-tank Network (SRTN) jointly with you. All think-tanks interested in international development issues and the Belt and Road initiative are welcome to join us. Let's work together to provide policy support for promoting the construction of the Belt and Road and common development of all countries.

In our preliminary consideration, the SRTN framewok has the following features:

Firstly, it is an open and diversified communication platform. SRTN is an international think-tanks network open for all. All think-tanks, in the region or outside the region, interested in and willing to engage in cooperation are welcome to participate in the joint efforts so as to contribute wisdom and offer strategic suggestions for the Belt and Road initiative. Participation of international think-tanks as well as domestic ones is welcome. There are development research centers in all provinces and prefectures in China. They have strong willness to take part in the cooperation. DRC has established research collaboration mechanism for the Belt and Road initiative with development research centers of 17 provinces, prefectures and cities. These research centers will become active members and significant players in SRTN and accelerate practical collaboration.

Secondly, diversity in cooperation modes and effectivness of cooperative activities should be emphasized. Cooperation approaches are not limited to information exchanges, research visits and personnel training. Joint research, seminars and round table conferences can also serve as the means to achieve effective communicaiton and cooperation, enhance think-tanks ability and boost their influence. For example, if all parties are willing to share development experience regularly, SRTN may start institutionalized international development forums on the Belt and Road initiative for various topics at an appropriate time. A normalized mechanism with research communication, joint publication of research results, jointly sponsored small-scale seminars and mutual visits of experts with SRTN as the platform so as to enhance mutual trust, dissolving doubts and policy communication.

Thirdly, as for the operation and management, SRTN calls for participation, joint construction, joint operation and benefits for all.

We look forward to your active and positive response and enthusiastic participation. Let's work together to start and build SRTN for all of us.

Finally, we sincerely hope that with the concerted efforts of all, we can make the think-tanks not only a bridge connecting domestic policies and academic research, a bridge between the government and the public of our own countries, but also a bridge of policy communication for deeper exchages and cooperation, for mutual benefit and win-win results. And SRTN will serve as the bridge that can lead all countries in the Belt and Road initiative towards common development and prosperity.