Since 2013, when Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward a proposal for jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road), the initiative carried out or started numerous development projects along Silk Road route. Besides building up bilateral and multilateral governmental cooperation with the associated countries, Chinese government provided additional support to non-governmental organizations in all the countries along the route.
The task to connect international NGOs was entrusted to China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE), established in 2005, composed of mainly Chinese national NGOs from various social fields.
In May 2017, at the opening ceremony of the “One Belt, One Road” Summit in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the establishment the the Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network (SIRONET), international network of NGOs from countries along the Silk Road route. Large-scale public promotion was held in Beijing, on the 1st Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network Forum, on November 21-22, 2017. SIRONET was endorsed by the CPC and the United Nations during the event that gathered over 300 NGOs from over 60 countries. International NGO-members founded the International Steering Committee & Secretariat and adopted the Constitution of the network.
With its unique features and advantages, SIRONET was established to implement the vision and proposed actions outlined in the OBOR initiative. It upholds principles of openness and inclusiveness, equal treatment, mutual respect and benefits, international cooperation and sustainable development. All member NGOs, regardless of their sizes, home countries, or fields of expertise, are to accommodate the shared development interests and concerns of countries along the Belt and Road, facilitate exchanges and cooperation, promote coexistence of different nations, work towards common prosperity and together share the outcomes of their work.
Various channels and platforms will be set up to support workshops, thematic seminars and development projects. The main SIRONET Forum will be held once every 2 years in China, while regional SIRONET Forums will be held in the years between the main forums in various countries along the Silk Road.