(LI MIN / CHINA DAILY)
The United Nations takes actions to solve the most critical problems the world faces today. To be able to address global problems and promote universal values, the UN brings together talents from all over the world while embracing diversity and creating a culture of solidarity.
As the hardworking staff of the UN come from diverse backgrounds, I have had the chance to work with many Chinese colleagues, hearing the inspiring stories of their work in this organization.
The UN has extensive presence globally. Apart from the headquarters in New York City, there are hundreds of offices in the developing world that desperately need solutions to poverty, human conflict, climate change and inequality, which sustainable development strategies can provide. Wherever there is a need, there are Chinese staff working tirelessly to fulfill the mission.
Chinese peacekeeping troops are known for their bravery and dedication to world peace. Since 1988, about 22,000 Chinese peacekeepers have been deployed to Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean region. They bear in mind the spirit of the UN Blue Helmet, while building roads and bridges, providing health services, safeguarding the safety and security of people. Although 17 Chinese soldiers have lost their lives in operations, their dedication and loyalty are highly appraised by the international community.
There are also many Chinese staff working at the frontlines of humanitarian aid, saving lives by providing food, shelter and health services when disasters strike. In mid-2017, violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state led to the displacement of many people.
Liu Dageng, deputy country director of World Food Programme Indonesia at that time, was appointed as emergency coordinator for Myanmar to lead the response operations. Liu didn't expect to see the beautiful country he worked in between 2004 and 2008 suffer from violence yet again. Having no time to shed tears, he and the team immediately started to analyze the circumstances and develop an operations plan. They were finally granted access to the two food distribution sites in Maungdaw. As of Dec 28, food assistance had reached 25,600 people in northern Rakhine, and 102,600 in central Rakhine, including 5,006 pregnant and lactating women. Liu is one vivid example of Chinese UN staff who risk their safety fighting for the livelihoods of those in need.
The UN in China has different dynamics from that in other field offices. I moved to Beijing in October 2016 and serve as UN resident coordinator in China. We have more than 450 staff, most of whom are Chinese nationals. They work for 24 agencies and programs within the UN system in China to help the country strengthen the capacity to address domestic problems and bring China's best practices, experience of development and technologies to the developing world.
In my eyes, Chinese staff are friendly, passionate and practical. They help each other and respect diversity, they are energetic and welcome creativity; they are loyal to the organization and faithful to our mission. Their talent and openness to innovation have become indispensable for our mission to realize the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ge Yunyan is a long serving official in the UN Development Programme China. She joined the agency in 1982. Starting as a junior staff, she has worked hard and developed comprehensive skills to fill in different posts in operation units. Her service, dedication and loyalty ensure that the agency always functions smoothly.
I am also very happy to see that more and more young people have joined the UN in recent years. Wang Zixuan is a young staff member who joined my office early this year. Having majored in women's studies in Oxford, she is now the gender focal point in my office. Her faith in the UN to achieve the SDGs, which highlight gender equality in the global agenda, inspired her to pursue a career with organization.
The youth represent the present and the future of the world. I am glad that the younger generation is enthusiastic about international affairs and ready to take on responsibilities in global governance. I encourage young people to put aside differences, embrace inclusiveness and position themselves as a global citizen who act in a responsible manner. If you are a responsible young citizen of the world, please come join the UN. We can work together toward a better world.
The author is UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative.
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