The year 2018 marks the fifth anniversary since the Initiative of Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as the Belt and Road Initiative) was first put forward in 2013. 

Since its inception, the Belt and Road Initiative has proceeded rapidly with the implementation of a number of major programs and international cooperation projects, including an active role in supporting the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

In the field of eco-environmental cooperation, China has achieved positive progress and promising results by actively deepening bilateral dialogue, exchange and cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road, reinforcing eco-environmental information support services and advancing cooperation on environmental standards, technologies and industries. 

Given the role of universities in fostering and disseminating knowledge, education and capacity building for sustainable development, higher education has a critical role in transitioning towards a Green Economy specifically and in attaining sustainable development more generally. It is important that universities start positioning themselves strategically and respond to expectations in leading and contributing to the shift towards sustainable futures. 

The Alliance of Belt and Road for Environmental Deans is a network of academic and research institutions working together for the common good towards sustainable development under the framework of UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It aims to provide a strategic and inclusive platform to share sustainability solutions and bridge the regional cooperation among belt and road countries.

Article I Objectives

The Alliance of Belt and Road for Environmental Deans (hereinafter refers to ABRED) is envisaged to: 

(1) leverage universities’ resources and bridge regional cooperation on environment and sustainable development; 

(2) foster multi-disciplinary academic and research development through joint activities in the domain of environment and sustainable development; 

(3) provide strategic leadership and advocacy in environmental and sustainability issues;

(4) support the strategy of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals; and 

(5) serve as an innovative engine for green solutions in Belt and Road countries. 

Article II Activities 

As a network of like-minded partners in pursuit of environmental education and research for sustainable development, ABRED will engage in the following 3 pillars: 

2.1 Research

Initiate joint research projects based on the resources of universities, belt and road governments, and other funding sources. 

2.2 Capacity-building

Human resource development, including postgraduate degree courses, training courses, and workshops. 

2.3 Networking

(1) Exchange of information, sharing of knowledge and intellectual assets. 

(2) Encourage and strengthen regional and sub-regional higher education networks on environment and sustainability.

(3) Provide North-South and South-South collaboration within the framework of the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES). 

(4) Establish linkages with other higher education initiatives for sustainability around the world and recognize programmes of excellence.

Article III Membership

3.1 Membership of ABRED is open to academic and research institutions which share common values towards the protection of the environment and in the pursuit of sustainable development.  To be eligible for membership, the institution must have sound knowledge, expertise and experience in environment, sustainable development and related fields. 

3.2 Membership is not restricted to academic institutions geographically along the Belt and Road countries.  Reference to “Belt and Road” in the Alliance name pertains to the subject focus of interest, not necessarily geographical location. 

3.3 New members can be recommended by founding members, and approved by co-chairs. Membership will be valid as long as there is active engagement in alliance activities. Membership can be terminated through withdrawal by members giving 6 months notice, and/or based on decision of the co-chairs. 

3.4 Applications for Alliance membership can be considered only if it has the endorsement by at least three other ABRED Members.

Article IV Governance and Management Framework

4.1 The universities attending the first Forum of Belt and Road for Environmental Schools shall be regarded as the founding members. There shall be two co-chairs for the alliance, one from China, one from a Belt and Road country.The term of co-chairs shall be three years, which can be renewed. The co-chairs should be rotated among the founding members, depending on their willingness and resources mobilized for the Alliance. 

4.2 The Secretariat of the Alliance shall be Tongji University, which will be responsible for the daily management of the network. 

4.3 The Alliance may contribute its activities and resources to the GUPES network.

Article V Duties and Responsibilities

5.1 Member institutions shall aspire to uphold and promote the objectives of the Alliance as defined in Article I. 

5.2 Member institutions shall actively take part in the activities of the Alliance as defined in Article II. 

5.3 Founding members shall attend the meetings of the Alliance.  Online meetings may be arranged upon request by the co-chairs to consolidate regular communication. 

5.4 Founding members shall advise the Alliance on potential activities projects and funding possibilities. 

5.5 Failing to perform any of the above-mentioned duties and responsibilities may serve as ground for expulsion from membership, , at the discretion of the co-chairs.

Article VI Effectivity, Amendment and Interpretation

6.1 The Charter shall take effect upon ratification by the founding members and shall remain valid for as long as the Belt and Road initiative is functional. 

6.2 Amendments can be made at general meetings of the Alliance.

6.3 Interpretation on any provision of the Charter is a matter for the co-chairs to have a final decision.