The Silk Road Survey and Assessment (SRSA) will be one of the key initiatives of UNEP-IEMP’s flagship programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL). The SRSA will focus on mapping ‘hotspots’, the combination of fragile ecosystems, biodiversity rich areas and vulnerable communities to climate change impacts and ecosystem degradation among the countries along the Silk Road lands and sea routes.

The survey will be under the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative proposed by China, providing a unique opportunity to further promote regional sustainable development and ecological civilization.

It will lead to not only a comprehensive understanding of the baseline conditions of climate change and its impact on ecosystems and livelihoods, but also initiate a broad policy dialogue on the effective implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)and ecological civilization. Based on the survey’s findings, pilot projects responding to climate change and improving livelihoods with ecosystem-based approaches will be developed and implemented.

The key activities to be undertaken are as follows:

  • Scientific assessment: To survey and assess the baselines of climate change, ecosystems, and livelihoods in the region along the Silk Road.
  • Policy dialogue: To facilitate dialogue on the effective implementation of SDGs and ecological civilization among institutions and individuals in the region.
  • Capacity building: To share knowledge and good practices, undertake talent exchange and plan ecosystem-based responses to climate change and poverty.


Outcome and outputs

This survey will endeavor to build up the momentum for regional sustainable development by synchronizing the work streams on climate change, ecosystems and livelihoods, fostering technical cooperation, and building partnership.

The key outputs include a knowledge database derived from field survey findings; a series of assessment reports; regional cooperation strategies among others.


Proposed routes and timelines

  • North route covering Northwest China to Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and Europe (2017)
  • South route covering Southwest China to Nepal, India, Pakistan, East Persian Gulf and East Africa (2017-2018)
  • Sea route covering coastal ports in Southeast China to the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and East Africa (2018 -2019)