UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja concludes her first official in-person visit to China

November 15, 2023

UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja presents a copy of the 2024 Regional Human Development Report to China's Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce Guo Tingting.

November 15, Beijing – UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja visited China, from November 8 to 15, holding high-level bilateral meetings with senior government officials to discuss UNDP’s cooperation with China, and China’s contributions to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development both domestically and in the region. In addition, she participated in a series of policy dialogues and roundtable discussions on human development, the low-carbon transition, and sustainable finance.

The policy dialogue, Human Development Progress and Opportunities: Navigating the future- Advancing human development in a changing world, was co-hosted by UNDP China and the China Institute for Development Planning (CIDP) of Tsinghua University, and discussed the findings of the recently launched 2024 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report. Ms. Wignaraja delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the importance of people-centered policies and investments, and multilateral cooperation in accelerating human development. 

During the roundtable on energy and low-carbon transition organized by UNDP China, Ms. Wignaraja held a discussion with experts to exchange insights on accelerating the energy transition in China, Asia-Pacific region, and around the world. She noted the progress China has made so far in this area and highlighted the importance of China continuing to build on its efforts and its critical role in advancing the global climate agenda.

While in Beijing, Ms. Wignaraja held a series of bilateral meetings with government partners including with Ms. Guo Tingting, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Mr. Zhao Fengtao, Vice Chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agenda (CIDCA), and Mr. Cong Liang, Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

In addition to these meetings, Ms. Wignaraja also met with senior representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, as well as the People’s Bank of China.

Following her meetings in Beijing, Ms. Wignaraja traveled to Dongying City in Shandong Province for a field visit to the Yellow River Delta Nature Reserve, where she observed first-hand the efforts being made to strengthen wetland conservation and the protection of migratory bird habitats under the UNDP-GEF Flyway Project. She noted in particular the reserve’s efforts in utilizing technology and data for monitoring ecosystems, protecting biodiversity and safeguarding nature.

While in Dongying, she delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the First International Birdwatching Season at the Yellow River Estuary. “Our future, as with all living species, is tied with the future of the environment,” she said. “It is critical to take bold and ambitious steps to valuate and invest in natural assets before it is too late.”

Ms. Wignaraja concluded her visit to China in Shenzhen, where she met with the city’s mayor, Mr. Qin Weizhong and discussed opportunities for partnership on technological and financial innovation to advance sustainable development.

While in Shenzhen, Ms. Wignaraja also participated in a dialogue on sustainable finance, co-hosted by the Shenzhen Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau, together with key experts and institutions from Shenzhen’s financial sector.  “UNDP has long been an advocate of bringing the world of green and the world of finance together,” she said.