What is the Blue Dot Network (BDN) by USA, Japan and Australia?
Blue Dot Network (BDN): Why in the News?
After a long time of inactive status, Blue Dot Network has pulled off talks among the stakeholders in Paris on Monday, June 13, 2021.
The meeting was called by OECD which is funded by Washington DC and Canberra. The first meeting of the Blue Dot Network Council was held. The initiative was taken by Joe Biden and it would certify the projects that meet the criteria of transparency and sustainability. It would galvanize thyeh private sector so as to invest in infrastructure development in the emerging markets. More tha 150 global executives from across 96 countries participated in the meeting.
The BDN is seen by many to work as an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative or BRI.
What is Blue Dot Network (BDN)?
Blue Dot Network is a multi stakeholder initiative. It has been initiated by the United States of America, Japan and Australia. The project would be providing assessment and certification of various infrastructure development projects across the world.
It was established on November 4, 2019, at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok, Thailand.
Blue Dot Network: Details
The Blue Dot Network will be helpful in bringing together governments of the world, the private sector, and civil society to share the standards for infrastructure development.
It is meant to serve as an evaluation and certification system with global acceptance, for roads, ports and bridges. It basically focuses on the Indo-Pacific region.
The network would also certify various infrastructure projects that demonstrate and uphold global infrastructure principles.
Blue Dot Network Certification would also serve as a globally recognized symbol of market-driven, transparent and financially sustainable development projects.
In short, getting a blue dot means getting a Michelin star rating for a restaurant.
Blue Dot Network: Principles
The Blue Dot Network uses established global infrastructure principles that were set in G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment, the G7 Charlevoix Commitment on Innovative Financing for Development, and the Equator Principles.
It also relies on the success of Japan's G20 leadership to build a common term on Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.
How does Blue Dot Network Rate a Project?
The grading of the infrastructure projects would be done on the basis of debt taken, environmental standards followed and labour standards met with.
This system would also apply to the projects in such countries where the citizens would like to evaluate such projects.
BRI vs BDN:
The initial shine of BRI has worn off many countries. They have realized that China launched various BRI projects to serve its own geopolitical interests rather than the host countries’ infrastructure requirements.
China’s debt has risen substantially in countries like, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, and Angola. Also Pakistan and Kenya have amassed the largest debts to China among BRI countries. Countries who are indebt are almost made to compromise their sovereignty, like for example, Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port to China is on a ninety-nine-year lease. It is reminiscent of colonial practices. Chinese port construction often means its military presence.
China’s BRI is ignorant of the established construction, environmental, and labor standards/ laws. It has no concerns for the transparency on the financing and terms of the BRI projects.
BDN on the other hand is transparent and offers developing countries an incentive to enact regulatory reforms that would then attract global private capital. This is why Blue Dot Network is being considered as a better alternative to Belt Road Initiate by China.