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Nation's role in volunteerism praised by UN

By ZHANG YUNBI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-11-21 08:05
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UN headquarters in New York City. [Photo/Agencies]

A senior United Nations official in charge of the UN volunteers who contribute to global socioeconomic development has hailed China's focus on volunteerism, welcoming the Chinese volunteers' role in bolstering sustainable development worldwide.

Toily Kurbanov, executive coordinator of United Nations Volunteers, noted that volunteers are taking the lead in climate action and creating a world without poverty and hunger, and that through volunteering, "young people in particular are honing their talents and acquiring exposure to international development".

"Through its important steps, China is encouraging young people to volunteer and to become global advocates for sustainable development," he said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

He noted that this year, 134 Chinese nationals have served as UN Volunteers. Among them, 85 work with 11 UN agencies within China, including the UN Development Programme.

"These volunteers work on important projects throughout China in areas such as poverty alleviation, food security, environmental protection, children's rights and women's empowerment," he said.

Forty-nine UN Volunteers from China are working with the UN in 21 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkiye, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Tanzania, South Africa, Peru and Panama.

In these countries, the Chinese volunteers "work in important areas such as climate change, poverty alleviation, gender equality, youth engagement, economic inclusion, data management, partnership building and humanitarian assistance", he said.

Kurbanov is visiting China from Tuesday to Friday.

Since 1981, United Nations Volunteers has worked with the Chinese government on social and economic development through volunteering.

Through a new cooperative effort started in 2019 with the Chinese Young Volunteer Association, "Chinese youth got the opportunity to work in the UN system through university and youth volunteer assignments across the globe", the UN official said.

"It's often said that youth hold the key to creating a better future. We at United Nations Volunteers see that in a tangible way," he said.

Regarding United Nations Volunteers' plan to work with China in the future, he said the UN will "promote two-way South-South knowledge exchange, learning and partnerships and use its global networks and platforms to facilitate knowledge transfers and technical exchanges under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".

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