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UNV and Volunteerism in China

Executive coordinator of UNV Mr. Olivier Adam (rear middle), Chief of Programme Coordination Section of UNV Ms. Alexandra Solovieva (rear, second from right), the Coordinator of UNV Region Office-Asia and the Pacific(front from right)with UNV China Field Unit staff as well as serving national UN Volunteers(UNV China, 2017).

UNV began its operations in China in 1981 in support of the UN system. Under the administration of UNDP, it has been contributing to development results through volunteerism. As of today, over 250 international and national UN Volunteers have served in United Nations programmes in China, and nearly 200 Chinese volunteers have supported poverty alleviation, micro finance, environmental protection, cultural heritage protection, HIV and AIDS prevention, migration and NGO development in over 35 countries as international UN Volunteers.

Volunteerism is embedded in traditional Chinese culture. Volunteerism is about contribution, friendliness, mutual assistance, improvement and ancient Chinese philosophers’ ideas of “benevolence”, “neighborhood” and “social ideals”. After the founding of the PRC in 1949, the ideas of “serving the people” and “learning from Lei Feng and doing good deeds” were precursors to the idea of modern volunteerism. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there were more than 1.7 million volunteers serving the event to ensure the games ran smoothly.

Moving into a new era of transformation, China faces new challenges on the contradictions between the unbalanced, inadequate development and people's greater needs. However, Volunteering may be one of the important means to solve this problem. As volunteerism continues to grow in popularity and efficacy, UNV will continue to play what it hopes will be an ever-increasing role in China’s development.

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