World Resources Institute (WRI) has appointed Dr. Fang Li as the new Director of WRI China. Dr. Fang is an experienced leader with deep expertise in environmental economics and a strong track record of forging progress on China’s critical environment and development challenges.
Dr. Fang previously worked in China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment as the Deputy Director General of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office where she led diverse multidisciplinary teams working on a wide range of environmental issues. Before that she served as the Assistant Secretary General of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), a high-level think tank that brings together top Chinese and foreign experts and provides research and policy recommendations to the Chinese government.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Fang joining WRI at this pivotal moment in China’s remarkable economic growth trajectory, when environmental issues are at the top of the agenda and the leadership has called for the creation of an ecological civilization,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, WRI. “Dr. Fang’s record of environmental leadership is widely recognized in China and internationally. I am confident that she will enable WRI China to make greater contributions to sustainable development within China and in the country’s overseas partnerships, including supporting the government’s commitment to a green Belt and Road Initiative.”
WRI has long had a close partnership with CCICED, recently contributing to influential studies around greening China’s financial system. At CCICED, Dr. Fang developed strategies and research frameworks, and brought together participating countries, international organizations, NGOs and governmental agencies.
“I am honored to be joining WRI, an organization I have long admired for their thoughtful and strategic engagement on China’s pressing environment and development challenges,” said Dr. Fang. “More than ever, the world needs sharp solutions rooted in science, which is what I hope to deliver alongside the WRI China team.”
Dr. Fang is a widely recognized expert and global thinker. She earned a Ph.D in environmental economics from China’s Renmin University with a focus on finance, valuation of nature, and emissions trading. She also previously worked as division manager for a Chinese-foreign mining joint venture in Ecuador.
“Dr. Fang brings a rich combination of vision, academic rigor, deep knowledge of the environment and development, broad management experience, and many years of advancing sustainability in China,” said Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, WRI. “Our work in China is core to WRI’s mission, and we are delighted that Dr. Fang is sharing her skills and insights with our talented team in Beijing.”
Dr. Laili Li, who stepped down several months ago after serving for seven years as WRI China Director, will be staying on as a Senior Fellow, Science & Research, to ensure to quality of WRI China’s research in addition to pursuing her own research on sustainable development.
“I want to thank Dr. Li for her years of exemplary leadership at WRI China. Under her leadership, WRI China made important contributions to China’s sustainable development on issues such as the early peaking of greenhouse gas emissions in advanced Chinese cities and sludge-to-energy, the high-efficiency treatment of urban waste water,” said Bapna.
Wee Kean Fong, who has served as Acting Director of WRI China, will continue his leadership as Deputy Country Director, in addition to his role as Director of WRI China’s climate program.
Dr. Fang assumed her new position in May.