Spenden für die Stiftung Asienhaus


Civil Society Dialogue in the Context of the BRI


This project was implemented from May 2020 to October 2022, with an extension due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

Stiftung Asienhaus invited civil society organisations from China and Indonesia to enter a dialogue on the environmental and social implications of the Belt and Road Initiative. It aimed at enabling spaces of exchange and learning for civil society organisations and at improving the sustainability of Belt and Road Initiative investments together with stakeholders involved.

Civil society dialogue across cultural and political borders improves organisational capacities, cooperation potentials and action-oriented research towards the common goal of sustainability. The project planned to offer a threefold exchange experience with a workshop in China, a fieldwork period in Southeast Asia and a conference in Europe. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and the ensuing travel bans it was reconceptualized as a digital project. It still gave civil society organisations the opportunity to develop their global strategy for a rising China and to strengthen their voices on a global governance level.


The logo depicts a gordian knot. It represents the difficulty of promoting civil society dialogue across political systems. Through the methodology proposed in this project, we seek to create a framework that enables spaces for civil society dialogue in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. The logo comprises three loops. They stand for Europe, China and Southeast Asia.


The China Programme of Stiftung Asienhaus seeks to contribute to the promotion of Chinese, European and local civil society participation in BRI projects in Southeast Asia.

The project goals were as follows: 1) The capacities of Chinese, European and Southeast Asian civil society organisations concerning their internationalisation and cooperative abilities are improved. 2) International cooperation, exchange and changes in perspective between civil society organisations from China, Europe and Southeast Asia about BRI projects take place. Civil society perspectives are visible in the development policy discourse on the BRI.

In this sense, the China Programme contributed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 'Partnerships for the Goals'. From a cross-sectional perspective, the project also touches upon SDGs 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 16.

Fieldwork Grants

The China Programme of Stiftung Asienhaus invited civil society organisations from Indonesia to conduct small scale fieldwork projects on foreign investments in the country with a focus on BRI projects.

Fieldwork projects may include the following:

  • the promotion of social and environmental sustainability through mulit-stakeholder dialogues
  • community campaigns on green development in the case of hydropower plant projects
  • research and study activities on the Mandalika Special Economic Zone
  • community and art programs on plastic reincarnation

We invited grantees to enter a dialogue on the environmental and social implications of the BRI with trusted Chinese civil society representatives from Stiftung Asienhaus’s NGO network. There were opportunities for digital capacity and network building for Chinese and Indonesian civil society organisations. Eventually, the fieldwork project results were published in a publication:

Civil Society Dialogue in the Context of the Belt and Road Initiative

Another unique element that contributed to the projects success was the "Communication Guide". In cooperation with Tom Wand and the Social Innovation Center led by Shawn Shieh we edited and rebuild the guide on "How to engage Chinese stakeholder in the context of the BRI" into a living document that can be edited, added to, and commented on. This tool shall support NGOs in overcoming the challenges they encounter when trying to engage with chinese state owned companies, private businesses and political representative:


The project was funded under the title "Förderung des zivilgesellschaftlichen Dialogs im Umfeld der chinesischen Seidenstraßeninitiative", engl. "Promoting civil society dialogue in the context of the Belt and road Initiative", reference number N-ASL-2020-5123, by Bread for the World (May 2020 to April 2022, extended to October 2022) and under the grant number 138445 by the Ford Foundation (November 2020 to October 2021, extended to October 2022).