The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.


Dynamic Belt and Road Initiative and the Global South’s Approach to Sustainability

Dan Yao and Mingzhe Zhu



When discussing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), mainstream scholarship adopts the narrative of grand strategy, which assumes the existence of a predetermined and top-down plan as well as China’s determination to implement it according to its interests and vision. This article, with its focus on sustainability, challenges this narrative and draws attention to the indeterminate features of the BRI. It proposes an alternative interpretation that considers the BRI as a dynamic field that facilitates the emergence of the Global South’s approach to international law. It argues that the countries of the Global South can be regrouped as a symbolic region by their proximity in the global distribution of economic and environmental goods, with its identity defined by common history with international law, and necessary solidarity in the pursuit of the cause of liberation. This article then compares the BRI with the previous projects of the Global South and identifies a vagueness of commitment, lack of coordination mechanism, and flexibility as their key features. Further substantialized by two case studies, it contends that the formulation of rules is determined by strategic interactions between States and different non-State actors in a given location according to local realities.

Third World Approaches to International Law; the Global South; the Belt and Road Initiativ



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