Interview: China's Belt & Road Initiative "most impressive development project of the century": UN body chief

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-14 12:34:03|Editor: An
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VIENNA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative is the most impressive development project of the century, creating significant potential for joint cooperation between China and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UNIDO chief said.

The initiative "aims to build communities of political mutual trust, economic integration and cross-cultural learning through peaceful and active development and collaborative economic partnerships along the Belt and Road," Li Yong, UNIDO's director general told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The initiative reflects the pillars of inclusive and sustainable development and plays an important role in promoting the construction of infrastructure, Li said.

Proposed by China in 2013, the initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

"This is precisely UNIDO's mandate and at the heart of SDG 9," said Li, adding "there exists significant potential and a bright future for joint cooperation."

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, whose Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) was designed to "build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation."

Established in 1966, the UNIDO has become a specialized UN agency mandated to promote industrial development in developing countries.

Li said UNIDO has engaged in cooperation with China in many fields with regard to the Belt and Road Initiative, and has launched, held and participated in various global forums.

He said UNIDO, together with the Ministry of Commerce of China, collaboratively drew up the "2016-2020 Country Programme Action Plan," whose main contents include green industrial development and food safety.

Li said the Belt and Road Initiative has been proposed as a vehicle for promoting industrialization in developing and least developed countries through international industrial capacity cooperation.

"UNIDO's cooperation with other Chinese governmental institutions and large enterprises has in recent years addressed climate change, energy efficiency and green finance, particularly in regard to the development of Small and Medium Enterprises in developing countries," Li told Xinhua.

Li also praised the Belt and Road Initiative for its two key features -- solving the problem of financing infrastructure and reflecting the spirit of inclusive and sustainable development.

By promoting total-factor productivity, endogenous economic growth and infrastructure construction, it can raise per capita income, improve the living quality of the entire society and reduce poverty effectively, as well as create opportunities for education and healthcare and provide work for the indigent, he said.

Infrastructure construction requires substantial capital investment. With the cooperation of the Asian Investment Bank, Silk Road Fund and BRICS Development Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative has a significant advantage when it comes to networking and financing, said Li.

This can help countries along the Belt and Road to construct infrastructure via effective financing and the utilization of government and private-sector resources, he noted.

Li also stressed the necessity to "enhance cooperation between countries and regions with different levels of development and different cultural backgrounds and to seek to forge wide-ranging partnerships."

KEY WORDS: Belt and Road