ICIMOD Party to Beijing Declaration on the Belt and Road Initiative

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Dr Eklabya Sharma addressing the opening plenary of the forum (Photo: Chinese Academy of Sciences)

The First International Science Forum of National Scientific Organizations on the Belt and Road Initiative was held in Beijing, China from 7-8 November 2016. Organised by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in partnership with eleven other national academies and research organizations including ICIMOD, the forum brought together over 350 scientists, academics, and experts from 40 countries.  

Speaking at the opening plenary of the forum, Dr Eklabya Sharma, Director Programme Operations at ICIMOD, described the Hindu Kush Himalaya as the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative, requiring special attention for sustainable development with a sufficient emphasis on environmental security. 

The Belt and Road Initiative brings an excellent opportunity for regional collaboration among scientists to generate evidence that feed into regional and international policies and agreements, Sharma told the audience. He stressed that mountains are the lifelines in the Belt and Road Initiative; regional cooperation for understanding the impact of change, especially climate change, would be essential.

A panel discussion on the role of Science and Technology innovation for shared development along “Belt and Road” route and future cooperation (photo: Chinese Academy of Sciences)

The Forum delegates, representing 20 national scientific and research organizations, issued the Beijing Declaration for the establishment of improved bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation mechanisms. 

In his speech to release the Beijing Declaration, Professor Bai Chunli, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, called for scientific collaborations among institutions and individuals of the 20 countries that fall within the Belt and Road Initiative region. 

The Belt and Road Initiative – also referred to as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – was proposed by President XI Jinping in 2013. The belt refers to the land-based belt from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe, and a maritime route through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa. The Belt and Road Initiative is led by the Chinese government, encouraging win-win cooperation to promote common development and prosperity. 

Forum participants at the session on Capacity-building, personnel training and basic research led by the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Photo: University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Dr Eklabya Sharma, ICIMOD Director of Programme Operations, speaks at the first international science forum of national scientific organizations on the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing on 7 November 2016.
Courtesy: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)