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Divya Hundlani, Research Fellow at LKI, spoke on Sri Lanka’s environmental opportunities and challenges of the BRI, at a conference entitled ‘The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Prospects and Challenges’ in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Held from 12-13 September 2018, the two-day conference was organised by The Bangladesh Institute for Peace and Security Studies. A diverse group of participants including academics, civil society, policymakers, and members of the diplomatic community attended the conference.
By examining both the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) within the Colombo Port as well as the Hambantota Port, Ms. Hundlani noted that the BRI presents opportunities for sustainable development in Sri Lanka. She highlighted that China’s BRI will play a leading role in shaping the international practice of sustainable and ‘green’ development, particularly in emerging economies like Sri Lanka.
As China positions itself as a global economic leader through major investments in BRI countries, Ms. Hundlani noted that it is also promoting itself as a global environmental leader on key issues like climate change, conservation and protection of biodiversity, and green, sustainable economic growth. She discussed how Sri Lanka can and should position itself for green economic growth, including by setting standards for low emissions and pollution levels, and suggested potential policies to promote renewable energy sources in BRI operations in Hambantota and Colombo.