The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a long term strategy to boost the region’s economic development by enhancing trade, infrastructure and connectivity by building networks of railways, highways, bridges, airports, ports, oils and gas pipelines and fibre optics. It is developed from the China’s ancient Silk Road which was used to facilitate trade and cultural exchange. The initiative aims to link China to Asia and Europe consisting of two important strategies; the Silk Road Economic Belt – the land route which connects China with Central Asia, Eastern and Western Europe; and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – the sea route which connects China to South East Asia, Africa and Central Asia.
The BRI initiative entails more than 60 countries and provides an opportunity for the global north to connect with the global south through the economic security platform. China has planned an investment of around $1 trillion and has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to provide loans to the BRI countries including ASEAN countries to complete the project. This is additional financial institution in addition to the major ones such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, which indicates China’s intention for stimulating more investment.
Besides, the BRI has increasing emerged as China’s major vehicle for international engagement, with important health dimensions, for instances, international collaboration in several health issues, emergency response and medical assistance, science and technology. In August 2017 China launched the first biennial global conference of health on the Belt and Road where more than 30 health ministers and leaders of multilateral agencies signed the Beijing Communiqué which aims at protecting public health and strengthening people-to-people exchanges among countries under the initiative.
However, there have been a number of concerns on the impacts of the BRI on health, for examples, global spread of infectious diseases from increased people mobility; the geological impact of large infrastructure projects; export of hazardous materials; and regulation of occupational health and environmental standards.
BRI is therefore beyond trade and investment. Both opportunities and challenges would prevail beyond its trading system. We thus need to understand these implications and manage them for greater opportunities while mitigating its negative impacts for the benefits of the society at large.
The International Trade and Health Conference this year will bring experts and participants from various groups to discuss the Belt and Road Initiative in details and its implication to health and health systems at large. It is expected that the conference will provide state of the art of the Belt and Road Initiative and policy recommendations as well as collaboration among agencies participate in the conference for further research on BRI and health innovation.
Language Thai and English (with simultaneous interpretation)
More Details Please Download Attachment file
1. Conference Programme
2. Conference book
3. Presentation materials