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Zhao Cheng: "Pooling Wisdom from All Sides for the High-quality Development of the BRI"

2023-01-18 18:10·Xinhua Institute
by Zhao Cheng

Pooling Wisdom from All Sides for the High-quality Development of the BRI 

Zhao Cheng

Vice Chairperson of the Belt and Road Studies Network (BRSN) Initiators Council

 Vice President of Xinhua News Agency

Belt and Road Studies Network (BRSN) is an important platform for think tanks of all countries to enhance exchanges of ideas and offer consulting services to policy-making. President Xi Jinping, in his congratulatory letter to the inaugural meeting of the BRSN in 2019, expressed the hope for the BRSN to deepen academic exchanges and produce more high-quality research results to contribute to making solid progress in the joint development of the BRI and building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Since its inauguration, the network has been effectively fulfilling its duties, building an open academic exchange and cooperation mechanism and providing service for the think tanks, international and regional organizations and experts and scholars of various countries. By promoting research and exchange on topics related to the BRI and boosting theoretical innovation, result sharing, knowledge dissemination and personnel exchange, the BRSN has seen an increasing number of collaborating think tanks, the broadening areas and enriched topics of study, and research results released one after another, which has contributed to the development of the BRI.

The year 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI. Over the past decade, the BRI has changed from concept to practice and achieved remarkable results, and the initiative has become a platform for international cooperation and popular global public goods. In today's complex and changing world, the Belt and Road construction faces new opportunities and development space, as well as new risks and challenges, which urgently calls for think tanks from all over the world to summarize the past 10 years of experience, map out future direction and offer more advice, thus better serving the high-quality development of the BRI.

To this end, as the chair of the BRSN Initiators Council, we intend to take the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the BRI to call for research reports from think tanks worldwide, to further enhance international cooperation on BRI-related research, step-up support for academic research to BRSN members, and boost exchanges and sharing of research outcomes.

Taking into account the practice and future development of the BRI, we have selected 27 topics to be studied,which can be divided into the following directions.

First, study on conceptual value and macro policies of the BRI. The 10-year practice of the BRI is so significant and valuable that it is worthy of in-depth exploration. In this regard, we have proposed research topics, such as the relationships between BRI and promoting the building of a human community with a shared future, between the BRI and the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, between the BRI and the change of global governance system, and the BRI development studies.

Second, study on BRI cooperation mechanism. As a platform for international cooperation, a set of mechanisms is already in place. Still, they need to be expanded to more areas and higher levels. To be specific, further research needs to be conducted on the following issues: how to strengthen the construction of various cooperation platforms and enrich the supply of international public goods; how to promote the international consultation mechanism for the soft connectivity of rules and standards; how to better dovetail the BRI and China's high-level opening up; how to evaluate globally the BRI projects in a more objective, comprehensive and accurate manner.

Third, study on the BRI cooperation areas. To promote high-quality BRI development, it is necessary to steadily broaden cooperation areas and cultivate new growth points. In this case, a series of researches must be conducted jointly on topics like the establishment of industrial and supply chains, new type of infrastructure, the establishment of the "land, sea, sky and network" interconnection layout, cooperation in the fields of health, greenness, digital and innovation, cooperation in agriculture and food security, as well as the sharing of poverty reduction experience and cooperation to promote poverty reduction in countries along the BRI routes.

Fourth, study on promoting the cultural and people-to-people exchanges under the BRI. To establish a pattern of pluralistic and interactive cultural and people-to-people exchanges, we must encourage the active participation of all kinds of subjects and enrich the forms of these exchanges. To this end, the selected research topics for cooperative network study include how to further promote the exchange and cooperation of think tanks in countries involved in the BRI, how to promote cross-cultural communication between different regions and countries, approaches to bolster interactions between cities along the BRI routes, and how to "fact-check" global BRI-related public opinions, and so forth.

All the topics issued in this reports-gathering call are available to the public worldwide, and additional information will be updated on BRSN’s official website and social media accounts. The reports collected will be compiled and published in the first half of 2023, and they will also be released on the official website and BRSN journal.

According to the Working Guidelines of BRSN Initiators Council, the council members will be given priority in hosting relevant research projects and having results published on BRSN official website, journal and social media accounts. We welcome all members to participate actively in this call.a

We hope to take this as an opportunity to pool the wisdom and strength of all parties, gather valuable suggestions and brilliant results, thus enhancing international think tanks cooperation on BRI-related research and contributing to the high-quality development of the BRI. We expect that by actively participating in this call, those think tank experts and scholars around the world can become promoters and story tellers of the BRI, communicators of people's opinions, and advice-providers for the joint building of the Belt and Road.


Excerpt from Zhao Cheng's Speech at the 2022 Meeting of the Initiators Council of the Belt and Road Studies Network (BRSN)