Interview: BRI contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goals, UN official says

(Xinhua) 09:21, October 16, 2023

VIENNA, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as "a massive project" with "immense potential," can help accelerate efforts to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ghada Waly, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Waly is going to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), which will be held in Beijing from Tuesday to Wednesday. She said she looks forward to attending the forum. It will be her first trip to China since she took the helm at UNODC in February 2020.

Calling the BRF a platform for enhancing international cooperation, she told Xinhua that "there will be many opportunities to exchange best practices, to learn more about the BRI, and to explain to the participants and the attendants the work that we (UNODC) do under the UN Convention against Corruption."

Waly noted that the BRI, with its focus on connectivity, poverty reduction and job creation, has been contributing to a number of the UN SDGs.

"It (BRI) has been successful in creating jobs in a number of countries, and it is contributing to reducing poverty," she said.

The World Bank has estimated that by 2030, BRI-related investment could lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty.

"This is a large number, and the Chinese experience in helping people get out of poverty has a lot to offer to other countries," she commented.

The UNODC chief also spoke highly of the "strategic partnership" between her office and China, saying that her office will contribute its knowledge, such as its know-how in addressing corruption and improving project efficiency, to help achieve the BRI objectives.

According to her, the UNODC and China have been working together on a number of areas, including anti-corruption, the fight against drugs, trafficking and organized crimes, as well as countering terrorism.

"With the (financial) support of China, we have been able to finance 40 countries with training and capacity building in the area of legal aid. We also collaborate with China in addressing drug trafficking and synthetic drugs through the Mekong memorandum of understanding on drug control," she noted, adding that she hopes the upcoming visit to China will further strengthen this partnership.

Waly, who also serves as the director-general of the United Nations Office at Vienna, praised China's support for multilateralism. She said the country has been an important partner of the UN at large by contributing to the UN's various intergovernmental processes, dialogues and networks.

As many global challenges are of transnational nature, "the only way forward is for the world to work together, to increase international cooperation and to increase dialogue among countries," she added. 

(Web editor: Liang Jun)


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