Experts discuss sustainable infrastructure and connectivity challenges

Experts have gathered in Beijing to discuss the importance of sustainable infrastructure and connectivity at a summit organised by Tsinghua University, in partnership with Volvo Group.

The Global Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity Summit , held on October 25, highlighted the key role infrastructure plays in economic growth, social development, job creation and poverty alleviation.

However, expanding services effectively remains a challenge, especially in developing countries.

With mega-projects such as China's Belt and Road Initiative underway, finding new ways to develop global sustainable infrastructure and connectivity is in sharp focus.

The development strategy designed to improve connections between China and Eurasia, also puts the spotlight on the potential of technology to drive sustainable regional development, multilateral cooperation and the responsibilities of entities and countries.

Director of Green Economy and Sustainable Development Research Center of Tsinghua University, Qian Xiaojun, said the shortage of non-renewable resources and climate change was testing the sustainability of human society.

"If current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us." Qian said.

"Infrastructure is a fundamental public service, for production activities and people's lifestyle. Sustainable infrastructure, to some extent, determines a sustainable overall economic operation."

"To secure infrastructure projects that protect the environment and reach targets of energy saving and emission reduction, efforts of policy making and supervising, industrial standard unifyication and technologu upgrades and commercialisation are all needed," she said. "All relevant interests should form a joint force, reach a consensus, and realize the common goal of sustainable development."

Senior vice president of Volvo Construction Equipment, Bill Law said sustainable development is a high priority for his company.

In 2014, Volvo Construction Equipment launched a Construction Climate Challenge project that aimed to build an effective dialogue platform for the industry and to promote communication among academics, business and government about climate action.

"It also provides funding for research and promotes and shares its findings in a bid to achieve the goal of reducing negative impacts on environment and addressing the climate change challenge," Law said.

About 120 business leaders and academics at the summit also discussed infrastructure investment and financing issues, and how Chinese enterprises can act more socially responsibly.

During the summit, Volvo Group launched a White Paper on Transport Solutions and Connectivity, which illustrates the findings of various worldwide case studies in this field, while analyzing the current level of sustainability in China as the Belt and Road Initiative is developed.

Editor: Li Jing