Meeting the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda requires the efforts of all of society. Everywhere, every day, ordinary people are acting on the issues that they care about. Over one billion active volunteers are carrying out a wide range of roles, from providing care and support to neighbours, extending basic services to under-served areas, campaigning for policy change, or building new relationships across polarized communities.
The event will take stock of progress and ways to strengthen volunteering in the development context. Participants will explore the new factors, best practices, lessons learnt that are important to reimaging volunteering for the 2030 Agenda.
According to recent estimates in the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2018, there were over 8.9 million full time equivalent volunteers in the Arab States region (18 countries reporting) in 2018. 17.1% are formal volunteers, within organized volunteer structures, while the vast majority (82.9%) are volunteering informally.
It is estimated that there are 12.1 million full time equivalent volunteers in Africa with the highest proportion of people volunteering informally (86 per cent). Several countries in the continent have formulated and adopted volunteer policies and laws to strengthen an enabling environment for volunteering to thrive in Africa.
There are one billion people who are estimated to actively volunteer worldwide. The 2015 Human Development Report (HDR) highlights that, volunteering creates social value and fosters innovation where markets and organizations were unable to make a direct contributions to peace and development in areas such as education, health, water and sanitation.
Young people gain professional, technical, and soft skills (creativity, leadership, critical thinking) that are crucial for employability through their volunteering activities.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly recognizes volunteer groups as key actors to achieve the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following the launch of the 2030 Agenda in 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Plan of Action for Integrating Volunteerism into the 2030 Agenda, through Resolution A/RES/70/129 "Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the plan of action for the next decade and beyond".
The Consultation provided a space for Plan of Action stakeholders from the ESCWA region to identify opportunities to support volunteers to accelerate SDG progress and maximize the potential of volunteering to tackle the region’s most pressing issues.
The consultation facilitated substantive discussions and generated great interest from partners to further strengthen and leverage the role of volunteerism to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Consultation will provide a space for governments, civil society, and other organizations to identify opportunities to support volunteers to accelerate SDG progress and maximize the potential of volunteering to tackle the region’s most pressing issues.
As a UN Youth Volunteer with a disability, Kasunjith provided a unique and personal input to the discussions related to inclusion and played a key role in advocating for needs specific to the disabled community.
If not us then who? ‘Inclusion’ cannot be fostered without the participation of people with disabilities. It is very important that the disabled community is not left behind in the recognition of Sustainable Development Goals. --Kasunjith Satanarachchi Devesurenda, during the 2019 ECOSOC Youth Forum