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Humanitarian and peacekeeping operations
Supporting the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), UNV volunteer Emmanuel Sannoh from Sierra Leone checks tickets for food distribution in Haiti. (M. Rizzolio/UNV)
The United Nations itself was established in a post-conflict setting, namely in the aftermath of World War II, one of the most devastating conflicts in history. Up to this day, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping (which often includes or leads up to an electoral operation) represent some of the UN’s greatest - and toughest - field operations and responsibilities.

While development work is geared more towards bringing about longer-term, sustainable human development by addressing underlying socio-economic factors, interventions in post-conflict environments typically address short-term, early recovery emergency needs. While the reality is less black-and-white than this somewhat theoretical distinction, it nevertheless has practical merit.

This is why the UNV programme distinguishes, by and large, between UNV assignments in development environments on the one hand and in crisis settings on the other.
UN Volunteers are often at the forefront of humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, both because of the skills and expertise they bring to help alleviate the plight of people in desperate situations, but also because their volunteer commitment and status brings a little extra to peace and recovery processes.

UN Volunteers live in the communities in which they serve and – importantly - are being perceived as politically and socially neutral. UN Volunteers, being non-threatening and global citizens, greatly facilitate the building of bridges between various groups by promoting dialogue and building confidence and trust amongst them.

If you wish to register your profile in our database of potential candidates, please go to register to be a UN Volunteer.

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