UN Under-Secretary-General Olga Algayerova Calls for All-round Cooperation between UNECE and CIECC
—President Wang An Meets with UN Under-Secretary-General
At the invitation of the Chinese government, Ms. Olga Algayerova, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) participated in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. On the afternoon of April 24, 2019, she visited China International Engineering Consulting Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as CIECC). Mr. Geoffrey Hamilton, Director of Cooperation and Partnership Division, Acting Director of Economic Cooperation and Integration Division and Director of the International Center of Excellence for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP Center) at the UNECE, accompanied the visit.
Mr. Wang An, President of CIECC as well as Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, warmly welcomed Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the UNECE to visit CIECC. He led senior UN officials to visit CIECC’s think tank exhibition for development achievements. Both sides had in-depth exchanges on the future comprehensive cooperation between CIECC and UNECE.
CIECC President Wang An leads UN Under-Secretary-General Olga Algayerova to visit CIECC’s think tank exhibition for development achievements.
At the initiative of Song Ping, the then Director of China National Planning Commission, CIECC was established in 1982 and is currently one of 97 central enterprises under the supervision of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council. The nature of the enterprise is a non-profit central enterprise. Mr. Song Ping, over 100 years old, still cares a lot about the development of CIECC today. He hopes that CIECC can become China’s “RAND Corporation.” Former Premier Zhu Rongji, former director of the first Board of Directors of CIECC, gave instructions in 2002, hoping to build CIECC into an “engineering consulting institution with authority in China and influence in the world.”
President Wang An believes that CIECC is not only China’s largest comprehensive engineering consulting organization, but also a well-known think tank for enterprises in China. What Ms. Algayerova just had seen were only some representatives of many consulting projects completed by CIECC in the past 37 years. However, they were enough to demonstrate that CIECC has witnessed and participated in China’s reform and opening-up. The 40-year history of reform and opening-up is a process of continuously drawing on advanced technologies and managerial experience from western developed countries. China’s economic development has created a huge consumer market for developed countries and even the whole world, providing a rare opportunity for common development. In the past, China provided incentives for the sustained economic development of western developed countries by attracting foreign investment. In the future, China will increase its foreign investment and economic and trade cooperation to drive more developing economies towards prosperity.
UN Under-Secretary-General Olga Algayerova and her delegation watch the promotional video of CIECC.
President Wang An stressed that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, through mutually beneficial investment and construction, has introduced China’s capital, technologies, and management experience to countries along the Belt and Road routes, boosting the economic and social development of less developed countries along the routes and making contributions to the peaceful development of the world. Therefore, the BRI follows the sound principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits to provide a global solution. Meanwhile, it also requires China’s consulting agencies to move more to go global and play a leading role in the BRI cooperation.
President Wang An pointed out that, in the past few years, CIECC, with the support of China National Development and Reform Commission, has carried out good cooperation with the UNECE, sending experts to participate in the United Nations PPP Forum and other important international conferences on many occasions. Dr. Li Kaimeng, Director of CIECC’s Research Center, was elected Vice-Chairman of the UNECE Intergovernmental PPP Work Council in 2017. Especially in the formulation of the UN PPP International Standard for Urban Rail Transit, CIECC has fully supported the work of the international expert team headed by Dr. Li Kaimeng, hopeing to learn from the experience of China and other countries in adopting PPP mode in urban rail transit and contributing its wisdom and strength to boost global sustainable development.
CIECC President Wang An briefs UN Under-Secretary-General Olga Algayerova on CIECC’s consulting achievement atlas for major projects.
Ms. Olga Algayerova, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) , first expressed his gratitude to President Wang An and senior leaders of CIECC for their warm reception. Through listening to the introduction of the development achievements of CIECC’s think tank and watching the short promotional movie, Ms. Algayerova amazed at the achievements of the think tank’s research and policy consultation made by CIECC in various industrial fields.
Under-Secretary-General Algayerova believed that many practices of consulting and research conducted by CIECC are very consistent with the concept advocated by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For instance, regarding the Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Hub Project introduced by President Wang An, CIECC had analyzed the changes of hydrological abundance and drought in Poyang Lake for thousands of years and proposed that the decision-making time for the approval of the Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project was not yet mature and that further research and demonstration were needed on key issues from the perspective of biodiversity protection in Poyang Lake wetland having an important global impact. This approach was in line with the concept of sustainable development championed by the United Nations.
Commissioned by China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), CIECC proposed to postpone the Poyang Lake project from the perspective of protecting the ecological environment when evaluating the Proposal for Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Hub Project in 2012.
The UNECE currently has 56 member states, of which 28 are EU member states and 30 are distributed along the Belt and Road routes. In addition to European countries, the member states also include those outside Europe such as the United States, Canada, Japan, Israel and countries in the Central Asia. The core function of UNECE is to promote trade and investment facilitation through the formulation of various international conventions, regulations and standards in the field of economic and social development of the United Nations, to meet the sustainable development goals set out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to serve the sustainable economic and social development of member states.
Under-Secretary-General Algayerova said that China is not yet a member of the UNECE, but it is pleased that China and UNECE have made such great achievements in PPP cooperation. CIECC’s experts have not only taken the lead in the formulation of the UNECE’s PPP international standards for urban rail transit, but also participated in various professional seminars and policy dialogues in PPP-related fields. It was expected that CIECC would continue to contribute to the healthy development of PPP model worldwide.
UNECE WebEx Team Seminar on Urban Rail Transit PPP Standard Preparation
Under-Secretary-General Algayerova emphasized that although the responsibilities of UNECE are mainly to serve its 56 member states, the various international standards, legal norms and operational norms it has led to formulate serve all member states of the United Nations. By holding various forums and special seminars, the UNECE has facilitated the sharing of experience and the establishment of partnerships among experts and businessmen from government departments, private institutions, non-governmental organizations and various multilateral international organizations from all UN member states to serve the sustainable development of the global economy and society.
The UNECE has formulated a large number of international agreements and conventions, promoted economic and trade cooperation among its member states under the same rules, and made important contributions to economic prosperity and social development across the world. For example, the Chinese government submitted an application to the United Nations in July 2016 for accession to the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods (TIR Convention). The entry into force of the Convention for China began on January 5, 2017. The Convention has 70 contracting parties, covering the connection of various modes of transportation such as road, rail and sea transportation. China’s accession has facilitated the operation of the China-Europe Railway Express. As of December 2018, China-Europe Railway Express freight services have amounted up to more than 12,000 trips, making it a beautiful business card for China-EU cooperation in the BRI.
Ms. Algayerova stressed in particular that the cooperation between UNECE and CIECC should not be limited to PPP. PPP is only one component of the current work of UNECE. The UNECE has six professional divisions, namely, the Environment, Housing and Land Management Division, the Transport Division, the Statistics Division, the Trade and Timber Division, the Sustainable Energy Division, and the Economic Cooperation and Integration Division. The setting-up of PPP standards is only a business in the charge of the Economic Cooperation and Integration Division. According to President Wang An, CIECC has a broad scope of business, undertaking policy research, planning consultation, and major project decision evaluation in many fields in China. It has strong comprehensive consulting capabilities, having a great influence in China and other countries. Therefore, it is an exceedingly rare partner of UNECE.
The China-Europe cooperation is an important part of the BRI cooperation and has received high attention from the Chinese government and the UNECE. The UNECE and the NDRC signed a memorandum of cooperation between the two sides, greatly boosting their in-depth cooperation. As an important platform for the UN system to formulate international standards, UNECE can take advantage of the network advantages of the United Nations, integrate the expert resources of member states, solve various complex problems facing the sustainable development of mankind, and find solutions to various problems existing in the practical cooperation of the BRI so as to serve the sustainable development of countries along the Belt and Road routes.
Under-Secretary-General Algayerova believed that UNECE and CIECC have an incredibly good foundation for cooperation in the PPP field. She suggested that the two sides take the successful cooperation in the PPP field as an opportunity to further expand into many fields such as transportation, energy, mining, building energy efficiency, technological innovation, and planning and consulting by signing an all-round cooperation framework agreement to achieve win-win results in the future BRI cooperation. Finally, Under-Secretary-General Algayerova warmly invited President Wang An to visit the UN headquarters in Geneva in order to deepen his comprehensive understanding of the UNECE and the cooperation between the two sides.
UN Under-Secretary-General Olga Algayerova and CIECC President Wang An have cordial talks.
During the visit, Director Geoffrey Hamilton of the PPP Center of the UNECE highly praised the professional competence and diligence of CIECC’s expert team represented by Dr. Li Kaimeng and thanked CIECC for its efforts and support for the formulation of the UN PPP Standards.
Director Geoffrey Hamilton of the PPP Center of the UNECE speaks highly of CIECC’s expert team represented by Dr. Li Kaimeng when visiting display boards of the “high-end forum.”
During the visit, the UN VIP also brought a special gift—UN Special, published in March 2019. The article 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Promoting People-first PPPs, co-authored by Mr. Geoffrey Hamilton and Dr. Li Kaimeng, Director of the Research Center of CIECC and Vice Chairman of the UNECE Intergovernmental PPP Work Council, comprehensively elaborates the connotation and implementation path people-first PPPs as well as the application prospect of people-first PPPs in the BRI.
In March 2019, UN Special published the article 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Promoting People-first PPPs co-authored by Geoffrey Hamilton and Li Kaimeng.
Also attending the meeting were Dou Hao, Vice President of CIECC, Wang Jinping, Director of the General Office and Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Bureau, Li Kaimeng, Director of the Research Center, and Xu Chengbin, Deputy Director of the Research Center.
After the talks, senior UN officials take a group photo with leaders and relevant heads of CIECC.