A local volunteer participates in a nationwide Diversity campaign in Khartoum to promote peace and civic engagement. (Photo: Ayman Suliman)
05 December 2011 New York, USA:
Today, the United Nations General Assembly will listen to the testimonies of volunteers as they explain the impact they make on the communities they work with.
In Nepal, over the course of 20 years, 50,000 community volunteers have helped reduce child mortality by a third. After the Japan tsunami, thousands of individuals stepped up to assist relief efforts. And in West Africa, a new volunteering service is bringing together people from war-torn Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guinea Bissau in a spirit of solidarity.
People from all walks of life can have an extraordinary impact on development and peace. On International Volunteer Day, 5 December, high profile UN events are set to highlight how much volunteering matters.
The first UN State of the World’s Volunteerism Report will be launched during the General Assembly’s morning plenary session on volunteering. The Report is expected to enhance perspectives of volunteerism worldwide, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark will make a keynote speech. The Report’s senior writer will then explain the content, and the volunteers will tell their personal stories.
The long-term future of volunteering and civil society will be discussed during a side event moderated by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme Executive Coordinator, Flavia Pansieri. The event will close with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the US Peace Corps and the international volunteer organization VSO.
Finally, to close the day, a multimedia exhibition, 'Volunteers of the World' will open in the main UN lobby. The exhibition aims to demonstrate the universality of the volunteer ethic in people of all walks of life. The final mosaic of ‘Light up our world’, a three-month UNV photographic project which illustrates the power of volunteer action across the planet, will also be on display.
"Throughout 2011, organizations from around the world have been marking the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, and International Volunteer Day this year is a major milestone," said Ms. Pansieri. "We must engage millions more people in sustainable development and long-term peace-building. Volunteering is a great way to make it happen. Together, we can change the world."
State of the World's Volunteerism Report (SWVR) launches around the world
The SWVR will be launched in more than 70 countries and territories around 5 December or later. Launches are confirmed in Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Chad, China, Colombia , Côte d'lvoire, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Germany, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
About the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers
Volunteering empowers change from the grassroots up, especially when enabled by strong partnerships at every level. It is 10 years since the International Year of Volunteers, and the United Nations has called for this anniversary to be marked across the planet. The partners’ aims are to promote and recognize volunteering’s positive impact on peace and development, to reinforce volunteering networks, and to help all people make a difference through volunteering. www.worldvolunteerweb.org
About the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme
UNV is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. www.unvolunteers.org
Lothar Mikulla (State of the World’s Volunteerism Report)
Philip Sen (Tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers)