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UNHCR seeks cooperation with China within Belt and Road framework: UN official

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-03-29 08:21


The objective of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) resonates with the missions of the United Nations (UN) and the UN stands ready to cooperate with China within the BRI framework, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Thursday.

"The emphasis on improving people's lives and improving connectivity resonates very much with the United Nations. We fully appreciate it and stand ready to cooperate in whichever manner is most appropriate," Grandi said in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held in China's southern island province of Hainan.

The BRI, proposed in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

The BRI is expanding and has lots of potentials in new areas, Grandi said, stressing that the objective of the BRI is very important for his agency as it can also contribute to the global refugee work.

Grandi said displacement is mostly generated by wars and conflicts. "Peacekeeping is what the international community has established to counter wars and I appreciate very much China's efforts in her peacekeeping efforts," he noted.

According to statistics, China has dispatched 40,000 peacekeepers to around 30 UN peacekeeping operations since 1990, the most among all the five permanent UN Security Council members. It is also the second largest donor country for UN peacekeeping missions.

The refugee problem is not a national issue, but a transnational one in nature, Grandi said.

"People move for many reasons including wars, conflicts, persecution, discrimination and climate change. That's why we need to work together," he said, adding that development is one of the keys to addressing the phenomena.

"By reducing poverty, it will be a large motivation for people to stay."

Grandi appreciates China's efforts in prioritizing poverty reduction. "Lessons learnt in this country on how to reduce poverty is very important for other parts of the world."

He also expects more actors from the society to engage in humanitarian assistance.

"Humanitarian assistance is not limited any more to governments, but is expanding to entire societies. We want to involve more actors from society including the private sector which has not only the financial resources, but also technologies and business models to contribute," he said.

Grandi said if the future is to be really shared, it has to be shared by all, including refugees, displaced people and victims of conflict.

The BFA that runs from March 26 to March 29 is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization. This year's BFA themed "Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development" has drawn from over 2,000 delegates from 60 countries and regions.

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