The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to volunteerism for development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging the integration of volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.
UNV advocates for environments in which volunteerism can flourish and people have the ability and the right to participate in the development process. We promote the integration of volunteering into the objectives and activities of partners such as governments and development organizations, to facilitate national ownership of development processes.
Volunteerism for development focuses on optimizing volunteerism’s impact on peace and development. Achieving this requires the cooperation and commitment of the public sector, civil society and the private sector with support from the United Nations system and the world community. Individual citizens also have an important role to play through volunteering.
For development to be sustainable, the people affected by it must be actively involved to take ownership. Every day, individuals are engaged in development initiatives through volunteer actions both large and small in an effort to improve conditions for others and themselves. Volunteer action by millions of people has been critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and will be even more critical to achieve the 2030 agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Volunteerism strengthens—and is strengthened by—trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens; it can transform the pace and nature of development. By creating opportunities for all citizens to participate in development, volunteerism empowers them and gives them a personal stake in their future.
Therefore, volunteerism fosters secure and stable environments conducive to the peaceful resolution of conflict. UNV strengthens the capacities of national partners, enabling local ownership of peace and development processes and encouraging recognition of volunteers and their cohesive engagement for peacebuilding.
Volunteerism is indeed a powerful and inclusive means of engaging people in tackling development challenges worldwide: everyone can contribute their time, skills and knowledge through volunteer action, and their combined efforts can be a significant force for achieving peace and development.