UN official hails Chinese volunteers' contribution

Updated: 2011-12-02 08:09

By Li Lianxing (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Volunteering has made a great contribution to development over the past three decades in China, and the nation's experience should be shared with other members of the international community, said a United Nations official.

Napoleon Navarro, UN Development Programme (UNDP) deputy country director, said: "Volunteerism has an important part to play in increasing China's contribution to global development through the dissemination of its numerous achievements in this field."

He made the remark at an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of UN Volunteers (UNV) starting its first project in China in 1981, as well as the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers.

Navarro said the UNV and China enjoy a fruitful partnership and people need to recognize the importance of sharing China's experiences with other members of the international community through Chinese UN Volunteers serving overseas.

Timothy Sutton, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund China deputy representative, said volunteering can help China shift to a low carbon, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable development model.

"The strengthening volunteerism for development in China through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games project, which trained volunteer managers and promoted environmental awareness to over 7,500 Chinese citizens, is also among the key achievements we have witnessed over these past three decades," he said.

China was initially a recipient of international volunteers, but now sends volunteers overseas.

"More than 200 Chinese volunteers have served overseas in countries such as Vietnam, Sudan and Libya to provide volunteer services in areas such as agriculture, water conservation and medical care," he added.

Dong Hong, former deputy director-general of China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchange, joined the effort in 1984 and said the volunteer projects are inspiring and stimulating.

"When we send more volunteers abroad, we can learn and share international experiences that can keep alive the spirit of volunteering," Dong said.

Li Miao was a team member of the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of China's Vulnerable Young Migrants program in Tianjin initiated by the UNV and the Chinese government.

"Volunteering has given me a sense of professionalism, sincerity and understanding," said Meng Zhaorui, a volunteer who worked with the UNDP as an education specialist to help train members of the Cambodian Parliament in 2011.

"Though we all face challenges, I believe that through volunteerism we can build the kind of world of hope, trust and cooperation that we all want to see in the future," she said.