As part of their research project on China, soft power, and environmental issues, Dr Agnieszka Nitza-Makowska and Dr Kerry Longhurst carried out a research trip to the US in February to meet with experts and analysts at think tanks: Council on Foreign Relations, Asia Society in NY and Wilson Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
Interviews and discussions revolved around the conceptual and practical implementation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Amongst other findings, it was ascertained that BRI is a very fragmented phenomenon and is far from being a strictly government-led pathway.
The team also spoke about country case studies and the roles played by elites in China’s partner states in determining the extent to which China adheres to environmental standards. For example, the record shows a very mixed picture regarding environmental impact assessments. Furthermore, the extent to which China hires local managers and labor to carry out projects also has implications for sustainability and development, especially in less developed states. Results from the trip will form the basis of a joint publication by the project team.
Agnieszka Nitza-Makowska, Kerry Longhurst, and Katarzyna Skiert-Andrzejuk have carried out the research project “Environmental Diplomacy as a Soft Power Instrument: China and the Belt and Road Initiative at Collegium Civitas since June 2021. The project is financed by the National Science Centre within the SONATA Programme.