Global ecological civilization: An analysis of macro-level policies of the Belt and Road Initiative

Qingge Geng, Kevin Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The critical study of China's influence on global sustainability is imperative, given its emergence as a global power. This paper examines China's leading environmental discourse—ecological civilization—in the global context. Although ecological civilization has become a key envisioning concept in China's domestic environmental politics and governance, the meanings of the term on the international stage have not been fully explored. This study empirically examine how ecological civilization is integrated into the Belt and Road Initiative—China's most significant international policy under Xi. We conducted a thematic content analysis of macro-level guiding policies that cover the core content of the Belt and Road Initiative and underpin the formulation of other sectoral-specific policies. The evidence suggests that the objectives and schemes of the Belt and Road Initiative represent a distinct interpretation of ecological civilization in comparison to its domestic version, with a heavy emphasis on developmentalism, free trade, and voluntary environmentalism but remain ambiguous about ideas such as eco-socialism, state control, and human-nature harmony. A shared aspect between domestic and international discourses is the emphasis on the use of technologies as a means of addressing environmental challenges, which suggests that the Belt and Road Initiative inspires to promote Chinese eco-technologies and industries overseas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100141
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Globalization
Early online date4 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • China
  • Environmental governance
  • Environmental politics
  • Global ecological civilization


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