Spotlight on China: meet our ECOP Intern Chunhua Jiang

The ECOP Asia Node and its coordinator Raphaël Roman has been lucky enough to have been supported by two amazing interns over the past couple of months, who have been doing a fantastic job to connect with ECOPs and organizations in their own countries.  We introduced Debarati from India last week, and now we are excited to interview Chunhua from China and learn more about her.
1. Hi Chunhua, thanks for joining us!  Can you tell us how you got involved in interning with the ECOP Programme.
I began the internship with the ECOP programme coincidentally. I am a master’s student majoring in marine biology and focus on marine microplastic pollution and plastic pollution on riverbanks. The daily affairs are mostly various fieldwork and experiments, literature reading and writing project reports. I took part in an online regional meeting organized by IOC Westpac in May. During that meeting, the conventioners were encouraged to promote regional cooperation on marine plastic & microplastic monitoring and engage more Early Career Ocean Professionals in Ocean Decade. That was the first time I heard about the ECOP Programme and being called an ECOP. Three months later, I read the intern recruitment information about the ECOP Programme. After careful consideration, I decided to come out of my comfort zone and apply for the intern position.
2. What have you achieved during your time with the ECOP Programme, and how do you wish to remain involved in the future?

I have done several things according to the assignments given by my excellent tutor Raphael during this internship. I was expected to complete two main tasks: building and maintaining a national ECOPs database for China and running a national survey.To meet the goals, initially, I read several documents and explored the ECOP website to better understand the Ocean Decade and its branches. Then I circulated a register survey on different social media in China to identify the potential Chinese ECOPs from different channels and as a pioneering survey for the upcoming national survey. After gaining enough experience by running it for one and a half months, the number of Chinese ECOPs tripled, and the promotion of the newly-designed national survey was shifted to the WeChat platform. In late Nov., I created a WeChat group called ECOP China network to spread the news about webinars and opportunities. The members are across disciplines and sectors; some are grassroots NGO members. The challenges that lie down the path were language barriers, intercultural communications, understanding the programme’s orientation and potential Chinese ECOPs’ behaviours. But this is also a learning process for me. The webinars introduced by the ECOP team are informative and meaningful; during the promotion process, I was engaged in and felt the harmonious and vigorous atmosphere of many communities.In the future, I’d like to help promote and establish some interior social accounts. There is more we can do for future Chinese ECOPs; building ECOP China node is the cornerstone. I will actively participate in activities held by the programme and strive to provide more opportunities for ECOPs.


3. What would you like to say the Early Career Ocean Professionals in or from China?
The reason I chose to be an intern of the ECOP team and the motivation I remain is the need for a comprehensive platform for people who need opportunities in the ocean field. We can find ocean-related communities scattered on WeChat and job & PhD positions at the sub-websites of the university webpage. Still, we could hardly find such a comprehensive platform that aims to empower ECOPs like the ECOP Network Programme, providing opportunities for ocean scientists and dedicated ocean environmentalists, linking stakeholders from various backgrounds. 
UN Decade of Ocean Science provides the opportunity to unlock ocean knowledge and convenes a wide range of ocean stakeholders. Its ambitions are beyond a single nation and need our joint efforts. It may not appear to have immediate short-term benefits for us, but the networks built will eventually benefit every one of us.


4. Why do you think it is important for ECOPs in China to engage in the UN Decade of Ocean Science?

The  UN Decade of Ocean Science provides a good opportunity for ECOPs in China. I roughly summarized most of the current Chinese ECOPs into three types. The first type is students/young scholars in academia, the principal constituent of Chinese ECOPs, but most can spare time for different activities because of the heavy workload. The second type is ocean environmentalists and people from NGOs, many of whom respond with language barriers. The third type is those who lack expertise in the ocean field but want to engage in SDG14 and care about environmental sustainability, seeking chances or channels to learn. Their common trait is looking for different opportunities.For ocean scientists, some regional fieldwork faced obstacles amid the Covid-19 pandemic, so regional cooperation benefits all ocean stakeholders; more funding opportunities can be shared in the network. For dedicated ocean environmentalists and other ocean industrial stakeholders, the Ocean Decade provides a platform to empower them.The ECOPs in China are also an important part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science. A lasting problem for a long time is that many Chinese ECOPs are willing to participate in the Ocean Decade, but they cannot find the information or do not know how to engage in it, or are not familiar with international norms, while people from other countries might be eager to hear the voices of Chinese ECOPs. Throughout the past year, more new programmes endorsed by the Ocean Decade were promoted, centres were set up in China, and it is time for Chinese ECOPs to make their voice.
Thank you so much for your words and dedication to the ECOP Programme, Chunhua!
Are you an ECOP in China?  
Join our WeChat group (contact for an updated code, this one is only valid until 19/12) and take the survey so we can learn much more about Early Career Ocean Professionals in China.

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