In a recent working paper for the World Bank, DCID-affilated professor Alex Pfaff was optimistic. Despite the wide range of environmental risks posed by the massive scale of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, he believes that with early integrated conservation planning, many of the ecological impacts of development could be mitigated. He looks specifically at transportation infrastructure, which poses additional challenge because of its complex and expansive footprint. His paper, written with colleagues at the Nicholas Institute, “studies environmental risks — direct and indirect — from Belt and Road Initiative transportation projects and the mitigation strategies and policies to address them. The paper concludes with a recommendation on how to take advantage of the scale of the Belt and Road Initiative to address these concerns in a way not typically available to stand-alone projects.” He recently gave a keynote talk on the subject at Colombia’s University of the Andes, and was interviewed for Sanford’s Policy360 podcast. In a post for Brookings’ Future Development blog, he summarized the World Bank working paper.

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