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Volunteerism and Disasters: An extract from the 2011 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report

05 June 2013

Today, 5 June, World Environment Day is celebrated around the world. This year’s campaign, Think Eat Save: Reduce your Footprint, highlights the large quantities of food that are wasted every day, and encourages people to be more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices they make.

On this Day, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme launches an extract from the 2011 State of the World's Volunteerism Report, 'Volunteerism and Disasters', which focuses on the role of volunteer action in disaster risk reduction.

It draws on growing empirical evidence that, contrary to common perceptions, the income poor are as likely to volunteer as those who are not poor. In doing so, they utilize their assets, which include knowledge, skills and social networks, for the benefit of themselves, their families and their communities. These assets are extremely relevant in strengthening local capacity to address disasters and, on the broader front, to assist the more vulnerable to secure livelihoods and to enhance their physical, economic, spiritual and social well-being.

'Volunteerism and Disasters' looks at the various ways in which people volunteer at the preparation, mitigation, response and recovery stages of disasters: spontaneously at community level; in organized ways with associations and organizations at local and national levels; and through international programmes.

It also underlines that volunteer involvement helps to ensure that fundamental values of solidarity and a sense of common destiny, values that add immeasurably to the resilience of communities, are reflected in strategies and programmes to reduce disaster risk.

To learn more, read Volunteerism and Disasters: An extract from the 2011 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report.

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