Announced by China in late 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to build a trade and infrastructure network across sixty-five developing countries to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe along land- and sea-based routes. On May 14–15, 2017, China will host leaders and organizations from around the world in Beijing for the first ever Belt and Road Forum.
Is the Communist Party of China (CCP) gearing up for major changes in the fall, when the 19th National Party Congress takes place? Behind closed doors, the Congress, held every five years, will elect members for the CCP Central Committee. This committee will then choose the general party secretary, as well as the Politburo and its Standing Committee, the main body responsible for China’s “collective leadership.”
For decades, the world has understood the threat of climate change. But until recently, the economic and political obstacles to tackling the problem stymied global action. Today, that calculus has changed. Technological progress has made clean energy a profitable investment, and growing popular pressure has forced politicians to respond to the threat of ecological disaster. These trends have enabled major diplomatic breakthroughs, most notably the 2015 Paris agreement. In that pact, 195 countries pledged to make significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions. “We’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one,” proclaimed U.S. President Barack Obama after the talks concluded.