On May 14, 2017, the Thematic Session on Think Tank Exchanges of the Belt and Road Forum for International cooperation was held in Beijing. The session is hosted by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and organized by China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), with the theme of jointly building an intellectual silk road, emphasizing the role of think tanks and helping the building of the Belt and Road.
At the opening ceremony, Liu Qibao, Member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, Secretary of the Secretariat and Minister of the Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee delivered a keynote speech. Zeng Peiyan, Former Vice Premier of the State Council of China and Chairman of CCIEE, Henry Paulson, Chairman of the Paulson Institute, Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs, Zheng Bijian, Chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York and Former Prime Minister of Australia, and Jiri Paroubek, Former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Former Chairman of the Czech Social Democratic Party also delivered their speeches respectively. More than 200 guests from approximately 40 countries took part in the event, including heads of well known think tanks, former politicians, scholars and experts.
The session consists of three topics, “the Belt and Road promotes robust, balanced, inclusive and sustainable global economic development”, “open, inclusive and mutual learning silk road”, and “the Belt and Road brings innovation and development to international cooperation”.
Participants believe that ideas are the soul of think tanks’ development and wisdoms are the products of think tanks, therefore, they should make great contribution to the building of the Belt and Road through wisdoms and ideas. Furthermore, think tanks should have global vision and deep insight, and take each country’s circumstance into account to interpret and analyze properly historical trend, study the internal impetus and pattern of the Belt and Road, as well as enrich the connotation and concept of the Belt and Road continuously. Think tanks should act as pathfinders, analyzing and drawing lessons from successful policies and cooperation applied by relevant countries to jointly build the Belt and Road, and apply good practices to other countries. By doing so, they will provide useful reference to global economic governance and discover new governance mechanism for the Belt and Road. In order to offer intellectual support and promote common prosperity in countries along the Belt and Road, think tanks should gather wisdoms and work together to build cooperation platform exploring new development paths and nurturing new growth momentum. At the end, the experts suggested that think tanks need to bridge wisdoms and policies, offer recommendations to government’s decision-making and economic and trade cooperation, integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with development strategies of relevant countries, enhance communication, guide public opinion and give their role of “second track” into full play.
The Thematic Session on Think Tank Exchanges is a wonderful gathering for wise men and thinkers around the world, and has promoted close cooperation between think tanks. Chinese think tanks expressed that they are willing to strengthen cooperation with their counterparts and bring continuous recommendations of high quality to the Belt and Road. Participants exchanged their views, had in-depth discussions on the theme of the session and reached consensus.
At the meeting, 16 Chinese and foreign think tanks raised the initiative of releasing the “Consensus on Building a Colorful Silk Road”. Moreover, UNDP and CCIEE jointly released the report of “The Belt and Road, Reform Global Governance and Promote Sustainable Development ”, and the National Development Bank and CCIEE released the report of “The Belt and Road: Trade and Investment Index”.