China's Belt and Road Initiative

Joint workshop on its impact on conflict states

Karakorum Highway (Foto: Fazeela Jamil, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a prominent Chinese effort to rebuild and develop intercontinental trade and infrastructure networks, and has attracted much attention for its transformative potential. Many of its projects are located in conflict states, which raises important issues for research and civil society. To investigate these, the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), and Saferworld hosted an online workshop on March 4, 2021, to discuss a recent PRIF report on the impact of the BRI on conflict states.
Among other things, the workshop looked at what concrete measures could be taken to better involve local civil society in the implementation of the BRI in order to build trust and ensure its long-term stability. Strengthening conflict sensitivity could emerge as a specific area of future cooperation between Chinese companies, local civil society and international actors.
The presence of the BRI in conflict states is a theme that connects ongoing research and dialogue efforts at SIIS, PRIF, and Saferworld. Joint research and a constant dialogue are aimed at delivering an informed picture of the respective impacts of BRI. The network created at the workshop will serve as a joint platform to critically examine these different aspects, to organize follow-up events, and to engage additional partners.

A more detailed summary of the workshop can be found here.