On 23 October 2018, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the China Youth Volunteers Association (CYVA) signed their first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the aim to strengthen the capacity of Chinese youth by providing opportunities to serve as UN University Volunteers and develop their capacity to contribute to sustainable development in China and across the region.
The signatures under the agreement were delivered by Mr. Zhang Zhaohui, Secretary-General of the China Youth Volunteers Association and Ms. Shalina Miah, Regional Manager for UNV in Asia and the Pacific.
CYVA administers China’s largest youth volunteering network, with over 40 million registered volunteers in provincial or municipal volunteering organizations. Under the three-year MOU, UNV and CYVA plan to develop and implement a UN Youth Volunteer programme where Chinese youth will have the opportunity to serve in the UN system on issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through the programme, they will increase their knowledge of sustainable development and become Youth SDG advocates in China and across the region participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Through the signing of this MOU, we look forward to working with CYVA as our partner in advocating for volunteerism, to continue deepening practical cooperation and creating opportunities to promote youth volunteering, people-to-people exchanges and partnerships in support of the SDGs.” -- Shalina Miah, Regional Manager for UNV in Asia and the Pacific
The cooperation will also strengthen CYVA's international role on youth inclusive engagement for the SDGs, create opportunities for Chinese youth to volunteer internationally in a multilateral setting as a model of South-South Cooperation, develop the students’ capacities to become global leaders, changemakers, and drivers of sustainable development in China and across regions participating in the BRI.
The China Youth Volunteers Association places great importance on exchanges of knowledge and cooperation with UNV. The signing of this MOU will establish closer ties, helping CYVA to participate more extensively in international volunteer services, and better deliver the voices of Chinese youth on the international volunteer service stage, providing an international perspective for excellent young Chinese volunteers." -- Qi Batu, Secretary of the Secretariat, Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China
The Memorandum of Understanding between UNV and CYVA resonates with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which recognizes the role that youth can play both as critical agents of change and as vital implementers of such change. Expressing her satisfaction and gratitude, Ms. Shalina Miah emphasizes that “the creativity, flexibility, and out-of-the-box thinking that youth possess are essential in creating new approaches to achieve the future we want.”
China has a long-standing relationship with UNV. From 2008 to 2018, Chinese nationals have participated in 239 assignments - 157 national and 83 international - within the UN system. This agreement will not only contribute to supporting youth’s energy and efforts, but also help foster within young women and men the important values of solidarity and meaningful civic engagement.