When UNDP Administrator Helen Clark toured China on a mission in late August, two national UN Volunteers greeted her during her field visit to a pilot sustainable forest management project site in Koutou, a village near Beijing.
Ms. Clark was very interested to learn about the UN Volunteers roles in the pilot UNDP-Macao Initiative for Carbon Sequestration through Sustainable Forest Management, a three-year climate change initiative sponsored by the Special Administrative Region of Macao. The project is supporting the development of a national voluntary carbon market in China.
Carbon sequestration is a key tool for mitigating climate change. It is the process through which atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas) is absorbed by plants through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass (trunks, branches, leaves) and soils. Sustainable forest management helps to capture carbon offsets (credits for greenhouse gas reductions), improve soil and water quality and encourage new forest growth.
National UN Volunteer Li Wei, assigned to the Beijing Forest Carbon Administration (BFCA), has a bachelors and masters degree in biology.
Ive worked in forest wildlife conservation with mangroves, she replied when asked about her background. [On this project,] I work closely with BFCA, assisting them in every step of project execution, including forest management, designing materials for advocacy, giving workshops, writing and translating.
Li Wei said she was "very honoured to serve on this project and appreciates the opportunities and experience it provides.
National UN Volunteer Li Jiayi, assigned to UNDP China office, translates project documents and quarterly progress reports. Since coordinating communication between the Government of Macau, UNDP and their implementing partner, BFCA, forms a major part of her duties, Jiayi Li noted, We are now in a very global village, and our counterpart is taking part in this project on global environmental issues.
Li Wei agreed, China is now developing in a lot of areas, and we are interested in the developing fields.
Its good to see the involvement [of UN Volunteers] in this particular forest management/carbon sequestration project, which is also important to climate change mitigation, said Ms. Clark. Its really good to have Macao supporting this project and the [China] country office as well. Many thanks to the [UN Volunteers] for all the work theyre doing to support our work here.
The UN Volunteers presented Ms. Clark with a UNV baseball cap and a copy of a 30-year retrospective on the history of UNVs engagement in volunteerism for development in China, from its start in 1981 to 2011.
Watch a video of Helen Clark's visit with UN Volunteers Jiayi Li and Wei Li here: