Earlier this morning on June 19th, shortly after the CBCGDF delegation in Nairobi wrote a summary on the 2nd day of the Workshop on options to enhance planning/monitoring,/reporting/review mechanisms (SBI-3 agenda item 9), some officials saw CBCGDF Secretary-General Zhou Jinfeng’s WeChat Moments regarding this UN CBD meeting, and was wondering who were there participating in the Fourth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in Nairobi as CBCGDF representatives. Dr. Zhou replied: “Prof. Fred Dubee and some other representatives”. Another governmental official ridiculed then: “As always, probably temporary workers again”. Dr. Zhou replied again: “Fred has been working for us for 8 years, which is completely different from the usual government temporary workers you mean.”
“Temporary worker” is somewhat a derogatory phrase in Chinese language. These words ignited some kind of hot discussions in a working group. Some CBCGDF staffs saw these comments in the WeChat Moments and were not very happy with such unfriendly and arrogant comments, especially when the words are from some government-paid officers, who never need to worry about travel fees as they’re afforded by taxpayers. To comfort the colleagues and experts, Dr. Zhou posted a thread in his own Weibo. Here’s a translation of what Zhou said in his Weibo and in some WeChat groups.
“Prof. Fred Dubee is 80 years old and flew from Finland to Nairobi in economy class as a CBCGDF delegate to help us engage deeply in global environmental governance. He is a highly respectable expert on environmental governance. Apart from the travel fees, we don’t pay any cent. As a long-time friend of Chinese people, he is of the upmost working ethics and always voice with good stories of China. He has sent us a lot of information (photos, videos and texts) every day for us in China to study and refer to. It hurts us when someone call him a “temporary worker”.
When it comes to “temporary worker”, it has meant a lot in recent years. Here I have to make detailed explanation for it.
Due to financial constraints for us as a civil society organization, we always try to make the best use of every cent. And with the challenges brought by the pandemic, we have asked volunteers to participate in-person in many UN meetings over the past three years. Our volunteers are not the “temporary workers” as they’ve described for the following reasons:
1 It’s quite different since “temporary workers” are mostly paid, but our volunteers are not paid, and they are full of passion and mission. Our representatives never complain about the poor accommodation and sometimes uncomfortable trips.
2 Some volunteers, such as Professor Jiang Gaoming, who was the Deputy Secretary-General of CBCGDF 15 years ago, have been working in this field for a long time and are highly qualified for and passionate about the biodiversity conservation cause.
3 Some volunteers have been the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Executive Secretary of international conventions, or in charge of related work, all with rich experience. For example, Fred Dubee, the participant of this conference, had worked in the United Nations for a long time and has been a volunteer for CBCGDF after retirement, telling good stories of China internationally. And Dr. Bradnee Chambers, who was so honored to be a CBCGDF volunteer years ago, also helped the Foundation in joining some events.
4 Some CBCGDF volunteers and experts received high recognition from Chinese government. For example, a CBCGDF expert has received the “Chinese Government Friendship Award”, the highest award given by the Chinese government to international friends.
5 There are also tens of thousands of volunteers who work silently every day to build a beautiful China in harmony with nature, a community of human destiny and a shared future of all life on earth.
How can we be completely indifferent to the voices of doubt as above when we think of those thousands of volunteers who have been supporting us? We have to say something for them since they are the ones who deserve our deepest respect!”
Original Chinese Article:
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