A long-term strategic partner of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) supports UNV’s mandate and volunteering at large. During annual consultations held in Stockholm, Sweden, in November, Sida and UNV took stock of joint results and reaffirmed continued commitment.
Recognizing Sida’s catalytic support to UNV, the two partners explored ways to further engage in support of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
Sida appreciates UNV as a flexible partner. It is impressive what UNV does and how UNV reports on results, including its digital and data spaces. – Alan AtKisson, Head of Sida’s Department for Partnerships and Innovation
Sida supports innovation at UNV providing talent to the UN system through the Full Funding programme and contributions to UNV’s Special Voluntary Fund, an unearmarked resource to implement UNV’s Strategic Framework priorities.
In 2021, 115 Swedish nationals were deployed as UN Volunteers, 90 of whom were fully funded by Sida. Over the last few years, Sida has diversified its support, funding youth, specialist and expert UN Volunteer assignments. One of these Volunteers is Sofia Karlsson, who supported the UN Development Programme (UNDP) with resource mobilization tools for biodiversity management in Zambia.
Sida’s priorities include catalytic support that delivers impact. Our support for UNV assignments for persons with disabilities is a good example of such catalytic impact. --Ulrika Lång, Head of Sida’s Unit for Capacity Development
Since 2019, Sida has also supported a more inclusive UN system by funding assignments for persons with disabilities serving in their own country, with 57 new assignments in 2021/22. One such UN Volunteer is Nahashon Njuguna with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), who promotes inclusive education in Kenya; another is Suvd Bold with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Mongolia, who proudly asserts, "Persons with disabilities can do anything!"
For Katarina Zinn, Senior Policy Specialist in Sida's Multilateral Coordination Unit, "UN Volunteers are like the oil in the machine."
Sweden has also been a strong supporter in the intergovernmental discourse on UNV’s new Strategic Framework, including consultations in the UNDP Executive Board.
UNV greatly values Sida’s support for UNV’s mandate. UNV can rely on Sida as a partner for experimentation and innovation. --Toily Kurbanov, UNV Executive Coordinator
Beyond the consultations with Sida, Mr Kurbanov participated in an interactive discussion around volunteering with the UN, former Swedish UN Volunteers, the United Nations Association of Sweden, representatives from Sida, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP.
According to estimates, one-third of Swedes volunteer regularly and Swedish partners are strong advocates for volunteering and the Sustainable Development Goals.
With almost 11,000 UN Volunteers per year and counting, UNV is championing volunteerism for sustainable development within the United Nations system.