The Group of Seven nations plans to launch a green alternative to China’s Belt and Road initiative when the leaders meet at a summit next week, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The strategy, expected to be called the “Clean Green Initiative,” would provide a framework to support sustainable development and the green transition in developing countries, the people said. The initiative will also be on the summit agenda for the leaders.
A G-7-backed plan to rival China’s infrastructure strategy was initially pushed by U.S. president Joe Biden, and has featured in technical discussions between diplomats preparing next week’s meeting in Cornwall, England, one of the people said.
The same person said that it was not clear whether any new money would be put behind the G-7 initiative, explaining that the initial purpose was a pledge toward creating a strategic framework.
The U.K. Cabinet Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Beijing’s trillion-dollar initiative has seen over 100 countries endorse the program, and its network of projects and maritime lanes already snake around large parts of the world.
But critics argue that the projects often create a debt dependency and expose nations to undue influence by Beijing. Montenegro, a NATO member and European Union aspirant, is one of the latest countries struggling to repay loans to China.
In the lead up to next week’s summit, G-7 members have expressed different views on the geographical focus the initiative should have, said one of the people familiar with the discussions.
Germany, France and Italy are keen for it to support activities in Africa, while the U.S. is pushing for action in Latin America and Asia. Japan argues for more focus on the Indo-Pacific region. But all nations broadly agree on the need for a more transparent alternative to the Chinese program, the person added.
In recent years, several G-7 countries, as well as the EU, have launched their own infrastructure initiatives with mixed results. More are in the works.
The G-7 leaders’ summit takes place June 11-13.