UN Volunteers deployed in 2022

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme provides global citizens with an opportunity to volunteer across the three pillars of the United Nations: development, peace and security, and human rights.

This annual report showcases the performance of UNV in 2022. It also highlights the contributions UNV has made as part of the crisis response efforts of the UN.

UN Volunteers contribute to development, peace and security, and human rights.
Spinning globe shows 84% volunteers came from the Global South
UN logo
UN partners hosted
UN Volunteers
UN Volunteers
UN Volunteers
UN Volunteers came from
the Global South
Countries and territories
where UN Volunteers serve
Icon of Volunteer
Average age of
UN Volunteers

Volunteers contribute to a people-centred UN

VUN Volunteer talking to a group of women

UN Volunteers make a difference

In 2022, UNV expanded opportunities for motivated global citizens to volunteer within the UN. UNV also worked to see that the volunteer experience was valuable to the UN Volunteers themselves.

In 2022, UN Volunteers supported 55 UN partners in 166 countries and territories. The number of nationalities represented increased to 179.

Some 84 per cent of UN Volunteers, or 10,370, were from the Global South. Of these, 7,329 (70 per cent) served as national UN Volunteers, contributing to peace and development by working in their own countries. Another 3,079 brought their experience to other countries of the Global South as international UN Volunteers.

Statistical overview

In 2022 there were 12,408 UN Volunteers, representing an increase of 14 per cent over 2021. The data from 9,738 volunteer reports found that one-third of volunteers contributed to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16. Significant numbers of volunteers also contributed to SDG 3, SDG 5 and SDG 10.

Based on data from 9,738 volunteer reports in 2022, UN Volunteers, in their opinion, mostly contributed to:
SDG 16






SDG 10


The largest number of UN Volunteers served in Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean had the next-largest contingent, followed by Asia and the Pacific. The Arab States region was next, followed by Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Africa up 2% Latin America and the Caribbean up 37% Asia and the Pacific up 11% Arab States region up 9% Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States up 44% Africa up 2% Latin America and the Caribbean up 37% Asia and the Pacific up 11% Arab States region up 9% Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States up 44%
55% of UN Volunteers were women

Moving towards gender parity

The proportion of women UN Volunteers increased to 55 per cent. Particularly notable was the increase in the number of women volunteers from Africa, where 48 per cent of UN Volunteers on the continent were women – a marked increase from 40 per cent in 2018. 

UNV partnered with UN peacekeeping missions to increase the number of women UN Volunteers among civilian personnel. As a result, women made up 42 per cent of UN Volunteers in peacekeeping in 2022, compared to 39 per cent in 2021 and 32 per cent in 2017.

UN Volunteer diversity

UN Volunteer in a wheel chair speaks with woman

UNV recruited and trained 205 UN Volunteers with disabilities and connected them with 23 UN partners. Through their work, these volunteers demonstrate that disabilities are not a limiting factor to meaningful engagement within the UN. The governments of Germany and Sweden continued to fund volunteer assignments for persons with disabilities from programme countries, resulting in 42 new deployments in 2022.

Man and woman planting trees

More UN Volunteers were recruited from Member States, countries and territories that were previously not represented or were underrepresented. Special talent outreach to candidates in small island developing States resulted in UN Volunteers serving from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Grenada, Maldives and Saint Lucia and first-ever deployments from the Federated States of Micronesia, Qatar, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

UN Volunteer with a face mask speaks to a group of people

The average age of UN Volunteers was 34, with 33 per cent under 30 years of age and 1 per cent over 60 years of age. The number of UN Volunteers aged 60 years and above reached 167. 

In 2022 there were 1,618 UN Youth Volunteers, including 220 UN University Volunteers. Additionally, the number of UN Expert Volunteers increased by 38 per cent to 609, highlighting the significant demand for high-calibre volunteer experts. 

Where and how volunteers serve

Woman planting a tree
  • Online volunteering
  • UNDP and UNV
  • UN Volunteers in action
  • Volunteers rapidly respond to needs
  • Opportunities through volunteering
  • UN Volunteers as refugees for refugees
  • Joint UN action with peacekeeping and elections support
  • Support for UN conventions
  • Duty of care for UN Volunteers
See what UN agencies UN Volunteers served with

Online volunteering

UN partners, Member States and civil society partners requested support from 8,474 online volunteers. That number dropped by 10 per cent from the 9,575 online volunteers who served in 2021. This decline may be attributed to the reduced availability of online volunteering candidates as the COVID-19 pandemic has abated. Online volunteers provided electoral support in Fiji, Kenya, Nepal and the State of Palestine. They assisted the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on a volunteer data scientist initiative at the Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector Development. They also helped launch a free call centre in Bolivia for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.

Online volunteering opportunities. 9,575 in 2021. 8,475 in 2022
Online volunteering opportunities. 9,575 in 2021. 8,475 in 2022


The largest number of UN Volunteers (3,399) served with UNDP, up 7 per cent over 2021, in 125 countries around the world. The UN Volunteers with UNDP helped to support the livelihoods of people in disadvantaged urban communities in Bangladesh and assisted in the post-pandemic socioeconomic recovery of women in Sudan. In addition, UN Volunteers with UNDP fostered youth leadership in remote regions of India and upheld human rights in Guatemala.

3,399 UN Volunteers seved with UNDP in 125 countries in 2022
3,399 UN Volunteers seved with UNDP in 125 countries in 2022

UN Volunteers in action

During 2022, 3,730 UN Volunteers were part of the UN Secretariat and missions as civilian personnel, an increase of 8 per cent over 2021. Of these, the largest number (1,706) served in UN peacekeeping operations, where they have become the backbone of the work on human rights, community liaison, health, public information, and mission support.


The top three missions hosting UN Volunteers

  • UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
  • UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)
  • UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

In addition, 344 UN Volunteers served in UN special political missions, such as the UN Verification Mission in Colombia (UNVMC), UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

In 2022, 1,576 UN Volunteers, a 32 per cent increase over 2021, served in 118 countries with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In Kazakhstan, the national volunteering programme mobilized 10,000 local volunteers who reached 150,000 children and parents on mental health, online safety, education and early childhood development. In Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Volunteers worked on fundraising initiatives by UNICEF in Ecuador, Mexico and Panama and humanitarian response efforts in Venezuela.

Volunteers rapidly respond to needs

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) served as host to 1,154 UN Volunteers, an 18 per cent increase over 2021. They acted on refugee protection, status determination and other critical functions in 69 countries. In Colombia, UN Volunteers responded to increasing numbers of people in need of protection, while in Ecuador UN Volunteers helped UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the registration of Venezuelan migrants. In Mauritania, UN Volunteers provided refugee registration, along with technical and legal support. 

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) engaged 495 UN Volunteers in 82 countries. UN Volunteers were essential to reproductive health programming and monitoring and evaluation in Sudan. Other volunteers helped set up health clinics in hard-to-reach areas of Afghanistan. In China, UN Volunteers trained 1,600 local service providers, health workers, teachers and students on sexual and reproductive health services and rights. 

The number of UN Volunteers with the World Health Organization (WHO) increased by 26 per cent, to 463, in 54 countries. In Egypt, they were integral to the rapid response to COVID-19. During an Ebola virus disease outbreak in Uganda, they helped with data collection and health programme delivery and provided other health-related services. In addition, 111 UN Volunteers served in 34 countries across the African continent as part of the UNV-WHO Africa Women Health Champions initiative. 

In addition, hundreds of UN Volunteers served with 48 other UN partners.

Opportunities through volunteering

In 2022, 402 UN Volunteers, a 16 per cent increase, served with UN Women in 54 countries. Their contributions ranged from assisting women farmers through climate-smart agriculture in Kenya to enhancing visibility and leadership in peacebuilding efforts in Bolivia.

Demonstrating their abilities as emerging women leaders, 111 UN Volunteers served with WHO to support African Women Health Champions. These women helped fortify national health systems, emergency preparedness and response, and community engagement in 34 African countries. 

UNV partnered with UNFPA, UN Women and UNICEF to create more opportunities for women as UN Volunteers through specialized programmes.


UN Volunteers as refugees for refugees

In 10 countries, UNHCR deployed 48 refugee UN Volunteers (a 78 per cent increase over 2021). Among this group were 17 from Ukraine who served in Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. An additional 12 refugee UN Volunteers from Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen served in Jordan. While the number of refugee UN Volunteers remains relatively small, each one of them stands as proof that refugees can also be active agents of positive change in their own and host communities.

48 refugee UN Volunteers in 10 countries. Increase by 78%

Joint UN action with peacekeeping and elections support

UNV contributed to joint UN action in several areas:

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Peacebuilding: UN Volunteers helped put into place activities supported by the Peacebuilding Fund. In Asia and the Pacific, for example, UN Volunteers extended cross-border community engagement, worked to prevent violent extremism and included women and youth in peace and stabilization projects; these efforts fostered community resilience and social cohesion. In 10 countries in West and Central Africa, UN Volunteers contributed to the implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel in support of 27 UN partners.

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System-wide electoral support: Nearly 600 UN Volunteers both on the ground (134) and online (456) were integral to providing electoral support. They served with a number of UN partners such as MINUSCA, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNAMI, UNDP, UN Women, the Peacebuilding Fund, and resident coordinators’ offices. Overall, UN Volunteers underpinned elections and post-election work across 28 countries, including Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal and the Solomon Islands.

Support for UN conventions

UN conventions received support from 568 UN Volunteers, who provided their technical and volunteer management expertise. In Egypt, UN Volunteers coordinated 500 local volunteers, who were the backbone of the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. And in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Volunteers helped ensure the smooth conduct of the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. 

Support for UN conventions

Duty of care for UN Volunteers

UNV supported the individual and professional development of UN Volunteers by increasing the number and variety of training classes as well as additional opportunities to interact with peers. Through 135 workshops, 5,650 UN Volunteers gained knowledge in preventing sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, as well as in combating racism and discrimination. This represents a 70 per cent increase in participants compared to 2021. Additionally, 4,458 UN Volunteers acquired assignment-specific skills through self-paced learning and online certification opportunities.

88% Satisfied with volunteering experience.
94% Reported personal and professional development enhanced

Stepping up in crisis response

UN Volunteer noting in a notebook

In 2022, major global crises prompted UNV to action, quickly sending UN Volunteers to support the response efforts of UN partners.

The UNV emergency response followed two tracks:


Context-specific offers were crafted, including detailed engagement steps and profiles of relevant volunteer candidates in the UNV talent pool. These were offered to UN partners involved in the response.


The Special Voluntary Fund (SVF) immediately dispatched UN Volunteers in high-priority areas such as coordination, data/information management and post-disaster needs assessments.

  • Ukraine
  • Pakistan
  • Uganda


In response to the war in Ukraine, 281 UN Volunteers worked with 15 UN partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. UN Volunteers filled numerous roles including crisis response and coordination, field community engagement, refugee protection, and mental health services.

UNV partners with UN agencies in crisis response efforts

UN Volunteers assisted the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), IOM, OHCHR, the Resident Coordinator’s office, UNDP, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN Women, World Food Programme (WFP), World Bank and WHO. 

Additionally, 182 online volunteers assisted UN partners and civil society organizations, sharing their skills in information technology, communications, graphic design, translation and interpretation.

Volunteers having a meeting around a table


Soon after Pakistan experienced devastating floods in September, UNV and WFP sent 38 community UN Volunteers into 21 districts within the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan. These UN Volunteers, fluent in local languages, were critical in the fight against hunger. They monitored the distribution of food within affected communities. Additionally, two national UN Volunteers helped the UNDP early recovery and operations support team.

UN Volunteer handing over a product to man


After Uganda declared an Ebola outbreak, 14 UN Volunteers joined WHO and UNICEF. They were part of the UN country team Ebola response, bolstering infection prevention and control efforts, and providing communications and psychosocial support.

UN Volunteer in front of a map

Support for humanitarian response efforts of the UN

In addition to these emergency responses, hundreds of other UN Volunteers provided critical support to people in need who were experiencing protracted humanitarian crises. In Haiti, UNDP engaged 58 community UN Volunteers in response to the 2021 earthquake and the political and social instability that has continued. This was the first time that such a significant cohort of national UN Volunteers was mobilized in the country; Haiti usually receives international UN Volunteers. 

In Bangladesh, 42 UN Volunteers supported eight UN partners in the Rohingya refugee response in the city of Cox’s Bazar. With UNICEF, 19 UN Volunteers supported monsoon readiness in camps and analysed hazard risks to determine potential flood, landslide and storm surge areas. They also monitored water and sanitation facilities. Volunteers also facilitated uninterrupted learning and equal participation of all children.

UNV mobilized 148 UN Volunteers (an increase of 12 per cent) to assist OCHA with humanitarian coordination in 40 countries. Most of these UN Volunteers served as humanitarian affairs, public information, communications and information management officers.

Nurturing local networks increases the chance of recruiting talented volunteers who can help both during times of crisis and during the subsequent transition from crisis to recovery.

The breadth and the depth of the emergency responses in 2022 offered important lessons to UNV. Specifically, it showed that nurturing local networks increases the chance of recruiting talented volunteers who can help both during times of crisis and during the subsequent transition from crisis to recovery. UN Volunteers everywhere enrich the efforts of the UN to help people in need.

Delivering on the 2030 Agenda through volunteerism

A volunteer standing with a man looking at a tablet

Integrating volunteering and strengthening policies

Research guides policy and planning

Under the new Strategic Framework by UNV, the organization is focused on brokering research and knowledge on volunteerism and on supporting integration of data and evidence on volunteerism for the SDGs. The link between knowledge generation and integration is a sequential process; research generates evidence that fuels development policy and planning.

Member States continued reflecting on the role of volunteers in the achievement of the SDGs in their voluntary national reviews.

Member States continued reflecting on the role of volunteers in the achievement of the SDGs in their voluntary national reviews. Of the 44 reviews presented, 24 (or 55 per cent) recognized the positive contributions of volunteers and volunteering to the SDGs.

Integrating volunteerism

UNV also provided technical support to UN country teams to integrate volunteerism into UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks. Of the 21 published frameworks, five (24 per cent) integrated volunteerism into the results and reporting frameworks:

SDG wheel. 8, 10, 13 and 16 highlighted

Bolivia and Kyrgyzstan for enhancing participation to leave no one behind (SDG 10)

Mongolia and Zambia for skills development (SDG 8)

Ukraine (Transitional Framework for Ukraine) for humanitarian response and disaster preparedness (SDG 13 and SDG 16)

Volunteerism has been integrated into all nine of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks, published as of 25 January 2023, in which UNV provided technical support.

SDG wheel. 5, 8, 13 and 16 highlighted

In Ecuador, the framework recognized the role of volunteerism for environmental conservation (SDG 13).

In Pakistan, the framework focused on three goals including volunteerism to enhance the engagement of local communities for disaster risk reduction and climate resilience (SDG 13); gender equality (SDG 5); and inclusion of excluded groups (SDG 16).

In Sri Lanka, the framework emphasized volunteerism as a means of building employability skills (SDG 8).

And in the State of Palestine, the objective was to engage youth in peacebuilding efforts (SDG 16).

In addition, UNV provided technical support to Member States to integrate volunteering into their national development plans and policies. In Zambia, UNV and UNDP collaborated on the eighth National Development Plan, advocating for creating volunteering opportunities for youth to improve their employability skills. In India, UNV worked with 1,200 youth to ensure that their perspectives were included in the new draft National Youth Policy; it supports the creation of a youth development platform to build up the volunteering environment for youth leadership and for engaging youth volunteers on government initiatives on education and access to justice.

Woman holding #SDG sign

Brokering knowledge on volunteerism for the SDGs is enhanced

Research shows added value of volunteerism in support of SDGs

UNV continued to research the added value of volunteerism for the SDGs and updated the data and publications of the knowledge portal on volunteerism. Three joint knowledge products were published with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (UNPBSO), PeaceNexus Foundation and UNDP.

Member States contribute to research efforts

Member States, UN partners and civil society organizations contributed 10 knowledge products on volunteerism for the SDGs. These enabled South-South exchanges on integrating volunteer mechanisms and modalities into development frameworks.

UNV partnerships and new approaches

Man and woman in a meeting

UNV took two steps to boost system-wide efficiency. First, it improved the ways in which talented volunteers were recruited. And second, it contained management costs while maintaining high-quality services. Efforts were also made to diversify the funding base for the UNV. In addition, UNV continued to work towards gender parity at all staff levels and to prioritize assembling a geographically representative workforce.

Institutional effectiveness is enhanced

The time it takes for national UN Volunteers to be sent on assignment decreased from 51 to 23 calendar days. For international UN Volunteers, that figure dropped from 100 to 78 calendar days. These results were achieved through the launch of the Unified Conditions of Service for UN Volunteers and the associated streamlining of recruitment processes, stabilization of the unified volunteering platform and additional refinements.

23 days to be sent on assignment nationally. 55% improvement. 78 days to be sent on assignment internationally. 22% improvement 23 days to be sent on assignment nationally. 55% improvement. 78 days to be sent on assignment internationally. 22% improvement

UNV financial reporting for 2022

In 2022, the financial value of UNV activities totalled $287.6 million, an increase of $17.6 million, or 7 per cent, from $270 million in 2021. UNV managed to maintain the recurring cost-recovery rate at 13 per cent. This achievement occurred despite additional workload challenges incurred for emergency response and as a result of customizing UNV services to specific partner and country contexts.

  • Expenditure overview 2021–2022
  • UNV financial overview 2014–2022
  • Expenses 2021–2022
  • UNDP core contributions to UNV 2014–2022
  • Special Voluntary Fund and other resources, contributions and interest 2021–2022
Download: Financial overview 2022

Expenditure overview 2021–2022 (in million USD)

Financial volume
Expenditure overview 2021–2022 (in million USD)

UNV financial overview 2014–2022 (in million USD)

UNV financial overview 2014–2022 (in million USD)

Expenses (core, extra-budgetary, cost recovery, Special Voluntary Fund) 2021–2022 (in million USD)

Expenses (core, extra-budgetary, cost recovery, Special Voluntary Fund) 2021–2022 (in million USD)

UNDP core contributions to UNV 2014–2022 (in million USD)

Expenses (core, extra-budgetary, cost recovery, Special Voluntary Fund) 2021–2022 (in million USD)

Special Voluntary Fund (SVF) and other resources, contributions and interest 2021-2022 (in million USD)

Special Voluntary Fund (SVF) and other resources, contributions and interest 2021-2022 (in million USD)
volunteer in a circle

Full Funding programme

UNV deployed 736 UN Volunteers fully funded by the governments of Australia, China, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Norway, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Of these, 72 per cent were women, 52 per cent were UN Youth and University Volunteers, and 12 per cent were persons with disabilities.

In addition to Member States, UNV collaborated with the private sector, academia and foundations to fully fund six volunteer assignments with partners such as Cisco Corporate Philanthropy, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand, and Mount Kenya University in Kenya.

Flags of Full funding programme

Contributions to the UNV FF programme amounted to $18.3 million, a decrease of 27 per cent over 2021. This was mainly due to multi-year contributions from several partners received in 2021, changes in priorities of some funding partners and exchange rate losses between the euro and the United States dollar.

Special Voluntary Fund

Special Voluntary Fund

UNV continues to rely on the SVF for research on and promotion of volunteerism, emergency and crisis response and innovative solutions. In 2022, contributions to the fund totalled $4.9 million and came from 10 donors – China, Czechia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand. Individual donors also provided funding via the digital giving platform.

flags of Special Voluntary Fund

Examples of the strategic use of the SVF include:

  • Recognizing the contributions of volunteers to the SDGs, by marking International Volunteer Day and organizing country volunteer awards
  • Dispatching UN Volunteers in support of UN system emergency response efforts
  • Increasing the number of UN Volunteers from non- and underrepresented small island developing States in the Caribbean and North Pacific

Contributions to UNV in 2022

Contributions from partners (in thousand USD)
Contributions to UNV in 2022

UN entities hosting UN Volunteers 2022

Looking ahead

UN Volunteer with a facemask talking to a woman

Guided by the results and targets laid out in the Strategic Framework, 2022-2025, UNV has concluded that the development and operational trends of 2022 are likely to continue in 2023. This points to the continuing need to mobilize and integrate diverse and talented volunteers in the UN system. At the same time, it suggests more volatile contexts and an increasing diversity of demand among UN partners.

UNV deepens its relationships with people and partners

Country-level outreach continues

UNV will continue to connect with volunteer talent at the country level and redouble efforts to achieve gender parity among UN Volunteers across all regions and countries, volunteer categories and UN partners. UNV will also continue to champion increasing volunteer assignments for persons with disabilities.

UNV will continue to deepen partnerships with UN country teams and individual partners to weave volunteerism into common country analyses, UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks and the country programmes of individual UN partners.

UNV engages in special programme initiatives

In response to demand from several UN partners, UNV will engage in special programme initiatives with MONUSCO, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and WFP. UNV will adapt and innovate in order to meet specific country and partner needs.

UNV engages in special programme initiatives
Globe showing the faces of UN Volunteers around the world

Planning begins for the next State of the World’s Volunteerism Report

In 2022, UNV began researching and planning for the next edition of the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report. The next report will focus on different facets of measuring volunteering, including how it contributes to economic and social development. As part of this effort, UNV will strive to craft a framework for the first volunteer index, an effort that will benefit from its already close collaboration with the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) and ILO.

UNV will strive to craft a framework for the first volunteer index.

UNV commits to efficiency gains, streamlining

With its firm commitment to achieving efficiency gains, both internally and for its UN partners, UNV will continue to integrate its unified volunteering platform with Quantum, the new enterprise resource planning system of UNDP.

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