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Belt and Road can give the world a new climate of cooperation

By WANG YANFEI in Hangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-15 08:08

Belt and Road can give the world a new climate of cooperation

Bamboo forests in Anji, Zhejiang province, provide the background for a springtime footrace in April. People living in Nigeria might soon be able to use advanced technology to grow bamboo to deal with rising sea levels. XU YU/XINHUA

Climate change cooperation among the Belt and Road countries can achieve win-win results because the initiative helps address the challenge by improving climate policy coordination and providing opportunities for technology exchanges, according to officials and experts.

For instance, people living in Nigeria might soon be able to use advanced technology to grow bamboo to deal with rising sea levels if the initial cooperative goals agreed during a two-week seminar organized by the International Cooperation Center under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Hayatu Abdulkadir Shehu, a senior official with the National Emergency Management Agency in Nigeria, said he expected to bring bamboo-growth technology back home after visiting Anji county in Zhejiang province during the seminar in late April.

Together with officials from 18 countries, Shehu came to the small county famous for its bamboos but 11,600 kilometers away from where he lives.

"Both China and Nigeria have a long history in growing bamboo, but we grow and use bamboo in more traditional ways. We hope to improve the efficiency of the whole industry by borrowing experience from China, due to both economic and climate change concerns," said Shehu.

Belt and Road can give the world a new climate of cooperation

An 18-kilometer cycling route cuts through Anji's bamboo forests. Bamboo is able to mitigate the effects of climate change through rapid reforestation. XU YU / XINHUA

Nigeria has about 1.7 million hectares of bamboo, but production and utilization is largely uncoordinated with untapped potential, according to Yomi Ige, chief executive officer at the Bamboo Development Network.

Because bamboo is able to mitigate the effects of climate change, through rapid reforestation, improving growth technology and expanding its uses has become more urgent in recent years, according to Shehu.

Yu Hongyi, assistant director of Zhejiang Xinzhou Bamboo-Based Composite Technology, said capacity building in other countries can be beneficial for overseas development of the company, as branding costs are limited.

Humaid Kanji, an environmental economist with Integrated Environment Policy in the United Arab Emirates, a study tour participant, said he is also interested in growth technology.

"We share some similar challenges as Nigeria. Farmers living in coastal regions face greater challenges brought by floods and rising sea levels than before," said Kanji.

Belt and Road can give the world a new climate of cooperation

Bamboo products are the pillar of Anji's economy. Expanding bamboo's uses is more urgent in recent years, as the plant helps fight climate change. TAN KAIXING / CHINA DAILY

"But as a policy maker, I hope the country can enhance climate policy coordination with China and other countries along the Belt and the Road, " he said.

"Although we do not know what the initiative will be like in the future, it opens the door for green logistics, green transport and so on," said Kanji. "More efficient and green transportation will bring more opportunities to enhance regional collaboration."

For China, the initiative can expand the circle of a climate change cooperation framework that has already been established with many countries, such as the South-South initiative, according to Wang Yiheng, a senior official with the climate change department at the Zhejiang economic and reform commission, who was in charge of the study tour.

By expanding the circle with countries sharing similar concerns on tackling climate change, the Belt and Road Initiative promotes greater awareness and understanding of the urgency to together address the climate issue, he added.

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