Seminar on the Report "Understanding and mitigating social risks to sustainable development in China's BRI- Evidence from Nepal and Zambia”.
On 22 June the Research Group on Human Rights and Sustainable Development and the International Department at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights organized an internal seminar on the report titled “Understanding and mitigating social risks to sustainable development in China's BRI- Evidence from Nepal and Zambia.” The report was published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in April 2021 and can be found here.
During the seminar, Overseas Development Institute Research Associate and Research Fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Shawn Shieh, introduced the report, including the research process, the challenges encountered, the scope of social risks, as well as the findings from Zambia. Ms. Zhong Huang, Researcher and Legal Officer at PILnet, presented the methodology and process behind the Nepal study, the manner in which the field trips were conducted as well as the main findings from Nepal.
While Chinese stakeholders emphasized the benefits of investment, and downplayed the risks involved, local stakeholders recognized the benefits but emphasized potential risks, such as social and environmental risks. The study showed that Chinese companies differ in the way they approach social risks. Chinese state-owned enterprises often had greater capacity than privately-owned enterprises to assess social risks and were more inclined to consult the community through corporate social responsibility. Many of the social risks stemmed from problems in communication and consultation with local communities, decent work conditions, gender equality, language and cultural differences, transparency in investment financing and local development and livelihood.
Finally, recommendations for various actors including Chinese policymakers, Chinese companies and industry groups, host country governments and international development partners were presented.
The event ended with a great Q&A session.