UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an example of effective international cooperation for sustainable development.
“I appreciate the BRI as an open initiative in principle and an example of effective international cooperation for sustainable development,” Espinosa told Xinhua in a recent interview.
“In today’s interconnected world, major challenges cannot be solved by any single country, business or organization acting alone,” she said, noting that “greater global cooperation is needed and multilateralism must be strengthened.”
This year is particularly significant with the adoption of the Buenos Aires Program of Action on South-South Cooperation in March, which reinforced the potential of south-south and triangular cooperation as powerful tools to achieve positive changes, particularly for the eradication of poverty in all its forms, said the UNGA president.
The BRI is vitally important in this regard, she stressed.
“The BRI has the potential to provide a strong regional contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, through its five priority areas, and through the shared overarching objective of charting a path towards shared prosperity and sustainability,” Espinosa said.
The BRI provides “a powerful platform” for economic growth and large-scale regional cooperation, which is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), she added.
As for the importance of development financing, the UNGA president said the BRI “provides an effective platform for the delivery of finance, such as the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, to help overcome the major challenges and the funding gap of the 2030 Agenda.”
Speaking of its contribution to the Paris Agreement, Espinosa said that “a low-carbon and ‘green’ BRI could also make a vital contribution towards safeguarding the goals of the Paris Agreement and meeting the environmental and climate change targets of the 2030 Agenda.”
Answering the question about how the BRI is compatible with and helps push forward the 2030 Agenda, the UNGA president said that “evidence of contributions of the BRI to global prosperity are highly encouraging.”
She cited the findings of a recent World Bank report on the Economic, Poverty and Environmental Impacts of the BRI as saying that the initiative could increase global income by 0.7 percent.
“The BRI area captures 82 percent of the gain, with the largest proportion in East Asia. The same study finds that the BRI could contribute to lifting 8.7 million people from extreme poverty and 34 million from moderate poverty,” she added.
“This year, the BRI achieved an important contribution to SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth. It is also worth noting that the BRI’s 82 cooperative parks have created nearly 300,000 jobs outside of China alone,” she continued.
“I believe that 2030 Agenda in nature welcomes all efforts that have the potential to accelerate the achievement of SDGs. The BRI can significantly unlock the potential of partner countries for sustainable development and has an important role,” the UNGA president said.