Sustainable Development Goals and Belt and Road Initiative – A critical leap for sustainable development in China
In the past five years, two global development frameworks, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have grabbed headlines and the attention of governments and the private sector. Both signify a widening drive for sustainability through prosperity, and both present opportunities for collaboration, impact and growth.
The SDGs aim to respond to challenges that societies face until 2030 that aim to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. BRI consists primarily of state- and privately-financed infrastructure projects in developing countries includes roads, rails, airports, seaports, energy pipelines, and other core projects. BRI not only facilitates economic development, but also extends the political, social, and cultural linkages between over 60 countries, generating praise from the president of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly who praised China's commitment to its SDGs and multilateralism through the BRI.
The ambition and scale of BRI indicates what is needed for the SDGs: long term planning, cooperation between states, and the development of public-private partnerships. A radical revolution in China, in terms of economic planning, political cooperation, business leadership, and technological advancement are essential for achieving economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. For example, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank finance infrastructure projects beyond Asia. Their establishment underpins the shift in international development cooperation from bilateral aid to multilateral cooperation, emerging powers and an alternative form of development practice creating a space to achieve mutual prosperity.
Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – Opportunities to implement SDGs in the region
Considered as another major national development strategy, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), has seen the launch of a number of initiatives that support the national commitment to SDGs. In February 2018, China’s State Council announced Shenzhen will become an innovation demonstration zone to operationalise the SDGs. Dongguan, one of the most well-known cities in Guangdong province, previously realised an economic miracle through its prosperous manufacturing industry and now sits in the centre of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Technology Innovation Corridor i.e. Chinese Silicon Valley-style tech corridor that serves as a new economic engine for the country.
The national ambition and direction of regional development poses two key questions:
- How can Chinese and international businesses, particularly those within the BRI footprint and operations and/ or supply chains in GBA, capture these unprecedented opportunities to ‘Go Global’ while contributing to sustainable development?
- What opportunities exist to form multi-stakeholders partnerships to generate shared value and create greater impact on sustainable development along the Belt and Road and in the GBA?
International Sustainability Conference in Guangdong (ISCG 2018) – 8 November 2018, Futian Shangri-la, Shenzhen
The second annual ISCG 2018 will help to answer these questions as it brings together 300+ speakers and delegates from business, academia and government to discuss techniques and best practices to integrate sustainable practices into business operations along the BRI and in the GBA. Industry experts will share insights with practical examples through a series of keynote speeches, roundtable discussions and focused discussion workshops covering environmental protection, sustainable supply chain management and gender mainstreaming. ISCG2018 creates a platform that connects like-minded professionals and organisations to promote sustainable global businesses, facilitates new business opportunities and cross-sector partnerships, and catalyzes collective impact in the region.
ISCG2018 will be of particular interest to:
- Senior managers and strategic decision makers who see responsible environmental, social and governance practices as opportunities to strengthen their organisations’ reputation, competitive advantage, and resilience, enhancing their capacity to ‘Go Global’ and contribute to the SDGs.
- Sustainability, CSR, Supply Chain, HR and Public Affairs professionals working to strengthen their organisations’ environmental and social performance.
- Policy-makers, academics, consultants and CSOs with an interest in promoting sustainable development and responsible business practices in alignment with the SDGs.
Registration for #ISCG2018 is free. Register now to secure your place by 31 Oct (Wednesday).