Skip to content

Dynamic synergies between China’s Belt
and Road Initiative and the UN’s Sustainable
Development Goals

    This study examines the dynamic evolving synergies between the UN’s
    Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and China’s Belt and Road Initiative
    (BRI). This is among the first studies to present an in-depth comparative
    treatment and evaluation of these monumental change-oriented undertakings
    in terms of their interlinks, complementarities, and synergistic potential to
    mobilize and transform public policy and managerial decision-making in the
    pursuit of sustainable development. In our study, we identify BRI focus areas,
    goals, and modalities and explore their manifold interactions with the 17 SDGs,
    including by reference to dozens of recent BRI and AIIB projects. Our findings
    strongly suggest ongoing alignment and convergence between the SDGs and
    BRI, as exemplified by the recent overt inclusion of BRI within the UN’s 2030
    Agenda. However, realization of such promising synergies hinges on several
    variables, including the geopolitical and public health environments, the
    adoption of more holistic trade and investment strategies, and greater
    openness and inclusiveness towards non-Chinese and local businesses,
    particularly regarding their participation in BRI sustainable infrastructure
    investment projects. Public policy efforts will be essential to steer BRI in more
    open, liberal, and integrative directions so that BRI can function optimally as an
    effective vehicle for achievement of the SDGs.
    Journal of International Business Policy (2021)

    Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals; UN 2030 Agenda; Belt and Road Initiative;
    BRI-SDGS; infrastructure investment; sustainable investment; ecological civilization

    By Donald J. Lewis, Xiaohua Yang , Diana Moise and Stephen John Roddy