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.
Volunteerism is a significant part of Sri Lankan culture. In the World Giving Index published in October 2019 by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), Sri Lanka ranked number one in time volunteered.
Sri Lanka has the highest rate of volunteering in the world. Each year an average of around seven million people volunteered their time, nearly half of those aged over 15 in the country. ---CAF World Giving Index
Why volunteering and inequality?
United Nations (UN) Member States and other actors have taken steps to achieve the SDGs by 2030, including many that involve volunteering.
There has been significant progress in some areas such as education, with more than 92.58 per cent of young men and 88.61 per cent of young women literate, but much work still remains to tackle critical challenges.
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 GTM 2020 will be co-chaired by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) and will discuss “Reimagining volunteerism for the 2030 Agenda” at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
The GTM 2020 will be informed by a Global Synthesis Report that will analyze evidence gathered by the Plan of Action Secretariat in 2018 and 2019. More information about the Plan of Action.
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 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.
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).