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Through this report we want to demonstrate how volunteerism is crucial in achieving and maintaining peace, and in enabling development. The absence of peace in societies affects its populations, but even in those circumstances volunteers and volunteerism can make a difference and contribute to a renewal of social cohesion.

Inside this report you will find examples of the contributions that UN Volunteers are making towards sustainable peace and how we work in partnerships with UN agencies, governments, civil society and other organizations to jointly achieve results. Our work would not be possible without these partnerships, nor without the generous support we receive from our donors.

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The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and by the idea that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards peace and development. With partners, UNV advocates for volunteerism, integrates volunteerism into development planning and mobilizes volunteers. The UNV Annual Report 2007 explores these ideas and the achievements of UNV and UNV volunteers.

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The Statistical Overview 2006 presents an update of activities of the UN Volunteers programme in 2006, highlighting our results in a bold and direct manner.  The achievements expressed in this statistical format were accomplished in collaboration with our partners:  programme countries, UN Departments, Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and others; and effected by the thousands of UNV volunteers working for the cause of peace and sustainable human development all over the world. 

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At the heart of UNV is the conviction that voluntary action by many millions of people is a vastly underrecognized and underutilized resource, one that if fully harnessed could strengthen efforts in tackling development challenges worldwide. The 2005/2006 annual report highlights examples of UNV’s activities within a framework of three areas of distinctive contributions.

The advancement of development worldwide is in many parts of the globe proceeding more slowly than hoped for. While a number of countries are making strides in meeting the MDG targets by 2015, too many others, especially those suffering from natural disasters, political instability, or the after-effects of conflict, are lagging behind. To help countries get on track, UNV contributes to constructing and reinforcing the frameworks for peace and development through mobilizing and supporting volunteer action. Whether responding to emergencies, supporting transparent and inclusive electoral processes, fostering reconciliation and reintegration, or helping strengthen institutional capacities for effective governance, UNV – and its UN Volunteers – are there.

A record number of 5,635 mid-career professionals served with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in 2003 to promote peace, relief and development initiatives through volunteer action.

According to Opening Doors, UNV's Annual Report for 2003, UN Volunteers representing 162 nationalities worked in 144 nations and countries in economic transition. Over 70 per cent were from developing countries, serving at home or abroad to foster South-South cooperation.

UNV's Annual Report 2002, "Weaving the Web", is all about how UN Volunteers do more than the obvious. In Bangladesh and Mozambique, UNV teams train people to weave baskets and tapestries in order to make a living - sustainable initiatives combining culture, artistry and microcredit to fight poverty. But UNV's involvement with people also takes another track, away from hands, reed and yarn. It threads through everything we do as an organization to promote volunteerism as a development concept. 

The year 2001 was business unusual and extraordinary for the UNV programme. It was our 30th anniversary as an organization and our fifth consecutive record year - 5,090 UN Volunteers from 160 countries taking up 5,432 assignments in 140 developing nations and countries in economic transition. UNV also built up its largest single presence ever, in East Timor. At the time of the Constituent Assembly polls on 31 August, over 900 UN Volunteers from 96 countries were supporting the East Timor Public Administration, including electoral processes, and carrying out a range of activities nationwide as part of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The UN Volunteers who have worked in East Timor since 1999 are a reflection of the many global citizens who have engaged themselves through the UNV programme in supporting United Nations peace and development activities.

This Annual Report captures a sense of the work some of these dedicated individuals perform. You can read about our largest operations in East Timor and Kosovo, where UN Volunteers support local efforts to steer a course towards self-governance and recovery following years of civil strife. We also take a look at how UNV helps bring self-help groups together to combat the stigma of HIV/AIDS and make cities better places to live.

During 1999 the number of volunteers topped 4,000 for the first time. And what is more significant is that these professionals came from 149 countries, with some 65 per cent from the developing world. Indeed, UNV's defining feature and greatest asset is its universality. It provides an opportunity to construct new relationships amongst nations; the donor-recipient distinction that has thus far been the dominant, seemingly inevitable feature of development cooperation, is rendered irrelevant in this active expression of international solidarity.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)