Straws: From Unwanted Waste to Biomass Energy and Women EmpowermentStraw was once welcomed by villagers in Xianhe village, Shanxi province as the agricultural by-product that could be used as food to feed the animals and fuel to heat up the stoves and clay beds. With China’s rapid development in technology and economy, farmers no longer consider straw as an essential commodity but instead burn it as unwanted waste during the harvest season.
Upgrading Lifestyle for the Birds and PeopleWith its unique grassland mountains and wetlands, Qinghai province provides the ideal shelter for many wildlife species. With its cold atmosphere and abundant water supply, the Naren wetland possesses rich biodiversity, attracting wildlife like black-neck cranes.
New Ways to Conserve the Tibetan ForestsThe Bazhu Village has been peacefully nested on the hillside of the Beng Bu Shen Ge Sacred mountain, beside the Jingshajiang River for decades. Thanks to the Tibetan culture and Buddhist teachings of the region, which instills respect for life and nature, the villagers have been preserving the forests and shelters of many precious wildlife for the past 800 years.
Heating the Community Centre with Cleaner AirTogether with approximately 9,000 residents, Zhang Shaocheng lives in Zhaofeng, an old district in Tianjiang. In the past during the smoggy winters, they had to bear the repugnant smell of diesel fumes and lived in constant fear of a potential boiler explosion.
Building Back Better and GreenerBefore the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in southwestern China on 12 May, 2008, 62 year-old Qing Liehua's main source of income and food for his family was through raising chickens. After the earthquake destroyed his home in Qinghe Village, Sichuan Province, however, he lost everything, including his chicken business.
Enhancing China’s South-South Policy Dialogue on Poverty ReductionSouth-South cooperation is making a growing contribution to global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. China’s rapid growth and development has caught the attention of many developing countries across the world, who are increasingly keen to learn from its experiences, especially in relation to poverty reduction.
Chinese Farmers Plant a Seed for a Chemical Free FutureSeventy year-old Dang Jiuru always dreamed of sending his grandson to university, but until recently his lifelong ambition seemed destined to remain unfulfilled. His apple orchard in Luochuan County, Shaanxi Province, simply didn't make enough money. But just two years since he took the bold step of abandoning toxic DDT pesticides, his grandson's university fund is growing as fast as his apples.
Improving Local Livelihoods by Protecting the Ningxia Desert“The cold winds from the north and the west blew up the sands, and all you could see was sand – everywhere,” recounted Liu Zhanyou, the Village Chief of Liuyaotou, Ningxia. The desert-like Ningxia environment is known for its harsh living conditions, making everyday life difficult for local villagers like Liu En. The Liuyaotou villagers, residing on the borders of the Mu Us desert where the annual precipitation is less than 250mm, have to rely on sheep husbandry as their source of income.
Sustainable Forest Management Boosts Development of Carbon MarketsThe mountain scenery of Miyun County has changed over recent decades. Before the 1980s, mountains in Miyun were barren, with only a thin layer of soil covering the mountain rocks. It was difficult to spot trees; instead, there were only naturally-grown shrubs which were less effective in soil and water conservation.
Guangxi Sugarcane Farmers Scale Up Yields, Increase Drought ResilienceDuring the dry half of the year, Li Zhi Wen, a sugarcane farmer in Lianhe Village of Shangsi County in Guangxi, and his wife, Qin Shaozhen, must lead an ox cart three kilometers away to obtain water. Without a dependable water source, it is difficult for them to maintain their sugarcane fields, a water intensive crop, as well as domestic hygiene and sanitation.
Medical Devices Factory Combats Environmental ConcernsYu Jiao, a young female employee at Zhejiang Kindly Medical Devices Co. Ltd (KDL) has worked for years in the medical devices industry in very difficult conditions. “Our company has a huge cleaning workload at an annual amount of 400,000 or so pieces of fixtures.” The cleaning procedure for all fixtures was manually done, with workers such as Yu Jiao brushing and refilling the cleaning solvents over and over by hand.
Producing Paint Using Marine-Friendly Alternatives to DDTTang Hao has been a seasoned worker in the production of Anti Fouling Paint (AFP) for nearly a decade. He began working in Zhejiang Flying Whale Paint Ltd, Feijing, in his mid- 20s but was unaware that the paint he dealt with every day was DDT-based and extremely harmful to humans and wildlife.
Biodiversity Conservation Yields Organic TeaAs a seasoned tea farmer, Li Mingshui is well acquainted with Xinyang Maofeng tea, one of the most famous green teas in China. “To cultivate the best tea leaves, it is important to find a place with amiable weather and quality water supply. So mountains provide suitable conditions for tea to grow,” said Li.
Remodelling Chinese Homes for the Next MillenniumWhen most people think of remodelling it is often the physical changes, like adding new curtains, modern flooring or wallpaper, that first come to mind. But for the 337 million rural Chinese residents – representing 32 percent of the total population – that lack clean cooking fuel, the kind of renovations UNDP have been working on are having far wider implications.
A More Sustainable Home for Migratory Birds in GansuGrowing up in Guomaotan wetland, Xihedao is very familiar with migratory birds passing by every winter. “Wildfowls like black-necked cranes and swans are attached to their partners for a lifetime. Once their partners are gone, the birds wail at the loss and feel very alone,” said Xihedao. “The sounds they make are heart-trembling.”
Not Just Another Brick in the WallWang Jingli has lived in the region around Wangyu village in China’s Hebei province for almost thirty years. The region, located in the mountainous area north of Shihe District, Qinhuangdao is famous for cherry cultivation and rural tourism. Wangyu’s local population of 938 used to live across five separate villages. In the past, the village residents had to cope with a lack of public facilities and social infrastructure such as inadequate drainage, non-existent central heating and no public green spaces.
Mosuo in the World Market: From Remote Village in China to Modern Mall in SingaporeThe scarves, resplendent in colour and painstakingly hand-woven, sit atop shiny modern surfaces in an upscale Singaporean department store. They come not from one of Europe’s famous fashion houses but rather, from villagers located in a remote part of Yunnan Province, China. This exclusive collection of artisan-made scarves is the proud handiwork of the Mosuo.
Preserving Biodiversity and Restoring EcosystemsAt over 3,400 metres above sea level, visitors to the Ruoergai peat lands on the edge of the Tibetan plateau may find that their most striking feature is not their natural beauty, but the thousands of man-made drainage holes that scar the landscape. Used mainly to reduce water levels and make the land more suitable for raising livestock and mining, these holes have damaged more than the scenery, they have put entire ecosystems at risk.
Combating Climate Change: Commercialising Clean TransportToday, coal and oil combustion constitute 90% of China’s total energy use, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and ozone concentrations exceed nationally specified limits, and the nation faces the continuing challenge of mounting air pollution.
A Light Bulb Moment: Promoting Energy Efficient LightingDevelop the marketing channels and financial mechanisms that open access to efficient lighting in small cities and rural communities. It is widely recognised that one of the most significant drains on energy demands is lighting, with most conventional incandescent light bulbs typically require four times the energy of their more efficient counterparts.
Providing a Healing Hand to Sustainable BiodiversityWith restrictions on logging and farming hitting hardest along the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the collection of wild traditional Chinese medicinal plants offered enticing income opportunities for enterprising residents. Nevertheless, despite contributing significantly to primary healthcare industries, harvesting quickly rose to unsustainable proportions and resulted in the widespread destruction of fragile habitats and encroachment into protected areas and nature reserves.
Abolishment of re-education through labour: strengthening rule of law and judicial reformTang Hui is one of many who have found themselves on the wrong side of the re-education through labour (RTL) system in China. After the sexual assault of her daughter in 2006, Tang was dissatisfied with the sentence handed to the seven offenders and raised her grievance with the verdict. As a result, she was sent to a camp under the RTL system without formal trial.
Sheltering Migrant Workers from the StormWorking alongside the Belgium Government and the All China Lawyers Association (ACLA), a non-governmental organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, UNDP has helped to provide professional and free legal aid to migrant workers. Through this one-year project, undertaken in 2007, non-governmental approaches towards institutionalising legal aid for migrant workers, has been explored through a legal aid model developed by the ACLA.
Social Governance: Development Through VolunteerismVolunteer organisations play a vital role in advancing development, often by providing services to those most in need. But in China they are often challenged by how best to connect with, utilize and manage their volunteers.