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Practice note: Contribution of volunteerism to disaster risk reduction

08 May 2012

In disaster response, the role and contribution of volunteerism is well recognized. In fact, when a disaster happens, volunteers are normally the first to act.

The impact of volunteers in disaster response can be tremendous, as the extent of damage – in terms of economic and human loss – is greatly influenced by the initial response to a disaster. In 1995, it was the massive voluntary response of citizens to the Hanshin earthquake in Japan that led to the International Year of Volunteers being held in 2001.

In turn, this fostered a greater understanding of the role of volunteers in the humanitarian field and in disaster risk reduction (DRR). The increased recognition of volunteerism in DRR was marked by UN General Assembly Resolution 57/106 ‘Follow up to the International Year of Volunteers’ in 2003 and the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World in 1994.

Read Contribution of volunteerism to disaster risk reduction (pdf)

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