The World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the appointment of Dr. Lailai Li as the new country director of WRI China. A well-recognized thought leader and researcher, Dr. Li brings a strong background of working on development pathways toward greater sustainability in China and globally. Previously, Dr. Li served as Deputy Director of the China Urban Sustainable Transport Research Centre at the Ministry of Transport and as the Director of the Asia Region for the Stockholm Environment Institute.

“Dr. Li takes the reins of WRI China at a critical moment. China’s progress in adapting low-carbon and sustainable solutions is vital to the entire world,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute. “Dr. Li brings an outstanding record of accomplishments in environment and development issues, which will enable her to expand WRI’s impact. Our work in China is core to our mission, and we are very much looking forward to Dr. Li’s leadership on these activities into the future.”

Dr. Li has recently led international research on economics of climate change in China, as well as ecosystem services and management. She has also spearheaded the development of a collaborative program with Chinese partners on “rethinking development – developing low carbon cities.”

“I am deeply honored by this opportunity to lead WRI’s projects in China and to work with my colleagues to advance our goals in the country and beyond,” said Dr. Li. “This is an important moment to bring our solid research and practical solutions to advance sustainability in China.”

Dr. Li is a widely recognized expert and published author. She received her Post-Doctoral Fellow at Peking University, in Beijing, and received her PhD and MA from the University of Pittsburgh, in the United States.

"Dr. Li has long served as the head of the Leadership on Environment and Development, or LEAD, training programs in China. She has contributed significantly to the training of Chinese youth about environmental and sustainable development concepts and leadership. I believe she will bring WRI’s work in China to a higher level, and bring her wisdom and strength in the new journey of China sustainable development and Sino-U.S. cooperation," said Qian Yi, a member of the China Advisory Board of WRI and a professor of the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Tsinghua University.

WRI China was established in 2008 to expand the institute's impact in key emerging markets at the forefront of sustainability. Dr. Li was preceded as WRI China Country Director by Dr. Zou Ji, who is currently the Deputy Director of the National Center for Climate Strategy and International Cooperation of China (NCSC), under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Over the past year, Dr. Xiaomei Tan has served as the acting director, and she also oversees WRI’s sustainable urbanization work in China.

“We are grateful of the strong and dynamic leadership of Dr. Tan, who helped deepen WRI’s projects and relationships in China,” said Dr. Steer. “Dr. Tan has helped position WRI for success in China, and we are now excited for the next phase under Dr. Li’s guidance.”

Dr. Li will assume her office in February 2013.

WRI China has a staff of more than two dozen people and is actively working at both national and regional levels on sustainable and livable cities, climate change, energy, greenhouse gas accounting, clean water, transport and other projects in China.