East Asia and Pacific
China has assured the world that its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be green. While broad polices have been proposed to support this pledge, there is little evidence of project guidance or implementation. Given the history of negative environmental impacts from large infrastructure projects across the globe, the expansion of transportation infrastructure planned under BRI is worrisome. To clarify environmental risks from BRI road and rail development and examine best practices to address risks, researchers from Duke University have produced the working paper Reducing Environmental Risks from BRI Investments in Transportation Infrastructure.
When it comes to trade, speed is of the essence. This is especially true for developing countries integrating with global markets. When goods and inputs are time sensitive, delays can be particularly costly. For this reason, the time it takes to get goods from one place to another – trading times – is a key variable determining how successful a country will be in global markets.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious effort to deepen regional cooperation and improve connectivity on a trans-continental scale. While the scope of the initiative is still taking shape, the BRI consists primarily of the Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China to Central and South Asia and onwards to Europe, and the New Maritime Silk Road, linking China to the nations of South East Asia, the Gulf Countries, North Africa, and on to Europe. Six other economic corridors have been identified to link other countries to the Belt and the Road.