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Volunteerism and the Millennium Development Goals: Success stories from the UNV programme

13 July 2010

Volunteerism is considered a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and a crucial renewable resource for social and environmental problem-solving throughout the world. General Assembly resolution A/Res/56/38 asked the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to provide technical cooperation in the field of volunteerism to realize its potential as a resource for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). UNV volunteers provide technical expertise and promote local capacity building, and are supporting the mandates of 23 United Nations entities and 19 missions, bringing expertise in over 100 professional categories.

The contributions of volunteers to the daily lives of people, actions, ideas, development and governance have been widely recognized. “Each of us can [] make an enormous difference for the better in protecting our planet and achieving the MDGs. Volunteers and volunteerism have an important role to play in this”, said UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark.

Indeed, achieving the Millennium Development Goals will require the ingenuity, solidarity and creativity of millions of ordinary people through voluntary action. The willingness and ability of citizens to give freely of their time out of a sense of solidarity will have a major influence on poverty reduction. Not only can volunteers serve to address a specific challenge or pursue a precise development objective, but just as importantly, volunteerism promotes human development by facilitating individual transformation. Voluntary work additionally represents an increasingly rare opportunity for bringing together people from very different social and cultural backgrounds thus directly fostering understanding, tolerance and recognition of the necessity to respond to the challenges facing human development with both local solutions and global awareness.

UNV has the potential to open the doors for a wider and larger participation as well as local involvement by the communities. The UNV programme is streamlining its programmatic focus to respond more directly to MDG challenges and national development goals of programme countries.  Political will and sustained efforts on the part of national governments, supported by the international community, can only complement what will ultimately depend on the active participation of people worldwide. Six billion people have something to contribute to these efforts.  

Read the document below for more information.

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