Cross-border partnership: China to create green economic belts in BRI countries

Belts will be set up using poplar trees under a plan released by China Green Foundation

APP September 15, 2018

BEIJING: China has launched cross-border partnerships with several international, non-governmental and civic organisations to create three "green economic belts" in the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including Pakistan.

Three belts will be created using poplar trees, under a plan released by the China Green Foundation at the Belt and Road International Forum on public cooperation for ecological remediation, which was held in Wuwei, Gansu province, the China Daily reported on Friday.

The belts are expected to start in northwest China and connect countries in central and west Asia, such as Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkey.

"Under the plan, a cooperative partnership will be established to encourage more exchanges of experience in developing a green economy in different countries," said Chen Shuxian, chairman of the foundation.

Poplar trees now cover about 648,000 hectares worldwide, according to the foundation. Most of them are located in 17 countries that are involved in the BRI.

China holds 61% of the world's total poplar tree forests, which provide important economic value to people. For example, the poplar forest covering an area of 31,840 hectares in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, generates an annual income of 672 million yuan ($98 million), according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

In Inner Mongolia's Ejin Banner, residents developed a tourism industry themed on poplar tree forests, which attracted more than 1.1 million tourists from home and abroad in 2015, generating 1.4 billion yuan annually.

At the forum, the foundation also announced the launch of an international ecological restoration fund, drawn from donations worldwide to promote green economy in countries involved in the BRI.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2018.

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