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Researchers/Experts can provide valuable expertise to enhance the quality of BRI projects. Qualified and experienced researchers/experts — who are often based at think tanks, research or academic institutions, and consultancy firms — may be formally invited to participate in BRI projects. If researchers/experts have independence from project proponents — which could include financiers, developers, contractors, subcontractors, the Chinese Government, and the host country government — their active participation in environmental and social assessment, management, and monitoring could potentially ensure that these processes are accurate, objective, and complete.

Possible Roles and Responsibilities of Researchers/Experts:

  • Conduct field research within the project area of influence.
    • Write about the views and experiences of affected people and other stakeholders following interviews — either on or off the record.
  • Monitor BRI-related policy developments in China, the host country, and other countries around the world.
  • Publish reports, articles, and books on the status of projects, activities, trends, laws, regulations, and guidelines related to the BRI.
  • Develop policy recommendations for financiers, developers, contractors, subcontractors, the host country government, the Chinese Government, and other stakeholders.
  • Serve as Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Consultants — either individually or collectively on independent panels — to inform and consult affected people and other stakeholders.
    • Hold regular meetings as early as project screening, conduct project scoping and prepare terms of reference (ToR), prepare and implement ESIAs, prepare environmental and social management plans (ESMPs), and present ESIAs and ESMPs to the public.
    • Alternatively, verify the results of the ESIA report, as well as proposed measures in ESMPs.
  • Individually or collectively monitor and report on each project’s environmental and social impacts during the project implementation and project operations phases.
    • Alternatively, validate the results of periodic monitoring reports produced by developers, contractors, and subcontractors.