China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with its goal of developing two new trade routes connecting China with the rest of the world, is one of the largest infrastructure initiatives ever undertaken. FOCUS-BRI was a yearlong, in-depth assessment of 12 countries where BRI and other national or international investments were being made for infrastructure projects. The Center for Large Landscape Conservation sought to better understand the current and potential capabilities within these countries to conserve ecological connectivity, maintain ecosystem services, and conserve biodiversity.
For context, our motivation to undertake the FOCUS-BRI project came from our collective understanding that while assessments of the direct impacts of linear infrastructure (LI) on biodiversity abound, comparatively less is known about how equipped specific countries are to balance conservation and development goals as they pursue economic growth via infrastructure.
The FOCUS-BRI reports are key in supporting our individual and collective actions to inform outreach with leadership within China, and to also target outreach to stakeholders, host country leaders, and conservation practitioners in BRI host countries. The reports produced by the project team include:
We believe our recommendations provide concise and action-oriented suggestions to conduct further research, inform national policies, and increase on-the-ground capacity to create wildlife-friendly, sustainable linear infrastructure in BRI host countries.
The FOCUS-BRI country reports aimed to identify where biodiversity, climate change and infrastructure development interact. The reports sought to discern the capacity of each country to build necessary linear infrastructure without negatively impacting biodiversity and deploy safeguards to protect biodiversity where impacts are unavoidable.
In addition, the reports examined the adequacy and enforcement of existing country guidelines and policies to protect biodiversity during development.
Banner photo: Western Mongolia – Adobe Stock