International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
APRIL 2019       MONTHLY
A People's Network
By Li Qing 
Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network Forum in Beijing on April 27 (LI QING)
NGOs from countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative pledged to enhance their cooperation in education, healthcare and infrastructure in a bid to promote stronger ties among their peoples, representatives said at the Second Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network Forum held in Beijing on April 27-28.

Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at the opening ceremony that NGOs should build consensus based on the Belt and Road Initiative and use the platform provided by the forum to improve the cooperation network and share experiences and achievements.

Delegates hold a discussion during the Second Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network Forum in Beijing on April 28 (LI QING)

The Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network Forum was founded in November 2017 as part of efforts to advance the Belt and Road Initiative. In his congratulatory message on its inauguration, President Xi Jinping said that NGOs play an important role in promoting economic and social development, as well as in international cooperation and global governance.

Hosted by the China NGO Network for International Exchanges, this year's gathering attracted 170 delegates from 22 countries and regions. Delegates shared their stories on various topics during the two-day forum. Many expressed their appreciation for Belt and Road achievements, which have cemented people-to-people bonds among Belt and Road participants.

Joseph Kahama, Secretary General of the Tanzania-China Friendship Promotion Association, said people living in countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative are enjoying its benefits. It is his hope that more Chinese NGOs will visit Tanzania so that organizations in both countries can expand cooperation to more areas after field research.

Boris Guseletov, a research fellow with the Institute of European Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, suggested that in order to promote people-to-people connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative, more exchanges and dialogues among youth groups and think tanks are needed. He also said he hopes there will be more cooperation between media organizations to help people better understand the initiative.

To date, 310 NGOs have been involved in the cooperation network and 200 exchange activities have been launched in areas such as charity, emergency rescue and volunteer services in Belt and Road participating countries.

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