The Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports for 2018 demonstrate improved focus on documenting whole-of-society approaches to monitoring and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Overall 29 of 46 reporting countries (63%) documented the contributions of volunteers in 2018, increasing from 40% in 2017 and 9% in 2016. UN Volunteers provided direct support to 11 countries to strengthen data and analysis on volunteering for inclusion in the reports.
The Voluntary National Reviews confirm firstly that volunteers remain important partners for implementation of the SDGs across diverse contexts. For example, Andorra, Guinea, Jamaica, Malta and Vietnam discuss volunteer efforts in the context of disaster risk reduction and environmental protection; Lithuania, Saudi Arabia and Togo highlight the role of volunteers in education, employment and poverty reduction; while Bahrain, Bhutan, Kiribati and Lebanon link volunteering to community engagement and social cohesion.
Secondly, Member States continue to develop specific volunteer initiatives and programmes as a means of engaging those populations often left behind. This includes volunteer schemes for persons with disabilities in Australia and volunteering opportunities for new immigrants in Canada. Volunteer initiatives have been established to strengthen women’s empowerment and leadership in Lao and Singapore.
Finally, Member States are also starting to leverage volunteer structures and networks to increase data collection, participation and consultation mechanisms for the SDGs. For example, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka and Spain all drew upon volunteers and their networks to broaden participation in their VNRs, through volunteer-led stakeholder events and online and onsite consultations to address data gaps. Member States also highlighted the role of volunteering in international cooperation, including South-South Cooperation, for the achievement of the SDGs.
Countries which highlighted volunteerism in their VNRs: Andorra, Australia, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Niger, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam
Countries where UN Volunteers provided direct support: Cabo Verde, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guinea, Jamaica, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Mexico, Niger, Sri Lanka and Togo.