Helen Clark tours UNDP project sites around Beijing

28 Aug 2013

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Following yesterday’s National Human Development Report launch in Beijing, Helen Clark spent today touring several UNDP project sites around Beijing after a morning meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. The UNDP Administrator first travelled to Koutou villag in Huairou district, Beijing to visit a joint UNDP-Macao initiative to improve carbon sequestration in China using sustainable forest management techniques. Koutou village is home to one of the project’s demonstration sites.

Ms. Clark then visited Bohai Central Primary School where she presented several carbon footprint calculators to help students learn how to find out what their daily carbon emissions are and reduce their carbon footprint.

The UNDP-Macao initiative is planning on giving away carbon footprint calculators to roughly 30 schools in Beijing. The carbon footprint calculators serve as an educational tool, allowing users to calculate the effect their actions have on the environment.

After lunch, the group proceeded to Sancha village where UNDP and the GEF Small Grants Programme are running a project to assist forest communities to save energy and reduce carbon emissions by installing energy-saving hypocaust heating systems (Kang) into local homes. This initiative helps local households need just a third of the firewood they did before, with the knock-on effect of reducing local CO2 emissions by 140 tons a year. One local resident, Mr. Gao Yongfu, told the Administrator “we used to chop loads of firewood to support us through the winter, but only a small amount will be needed now."

Ms. Clark spent time with the local residents to hear their thoughts on the work UNDP and the GEF was doing was affecting their community, and in turn explained how the same technology can be employed in African and other developing nations.

The Administrator is currently on an official visit to China to meet with government counterparts and participate in several high-profile launches and events.