Benefits, Entitlements, and Support Systems
As an international UN Volunteer, you are not a UN staff member and not subject to the UN Staff Regulations and Staff Rules; or to the pay, benefits and other conditions contained in those staff
rules and regulations. Your status is that of UN Personnel and your assignment is governed by the international UN Volunteer Conditions of Service (COS), any amendments that may result in the revision of the COS, and by the terms of your Contract issued for each assignment.
The purpose of the allowances for international UN Volunteers is to enable the international UN Volunteer to sustain a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. The allowances are in
no way to be understood as a compensation, reward or salary in exchange for the volunteer work.
International UN Volunteer Conditions of Service
The purpose of this document is to establish the basic terms and conditions of service for an international UN Volunteer, as well as the duties and obligations of the United Nations Volunteers
(UNV) programme to international UN Volunteers.
The provisions of these Conditions of Service for international UN Volunteers (COS) apply only to individuals recruited under the category as international UN Volunteers, including international UN Youth and University Volunteers, and those persons recruited under the UN Expatriate National Volunteers. Separate Conditions of Service have been established for national UN Volunteers and
other volunteer initiatives administered by UNV that fall outside of the scope of this document.
Select your modality below for a summary overview of allowances, benefits, and entitlements covered under the UNV Conditions of Service for your specific assignment. If you are being recruited for other modalities, your UNV contact person will advise on applicable allowances, benefits, and entitlements.
For detailed information on the provisions of the international UN Volunteer Conditions of Service we encourage you to familiarise yourself with the international COS Handbook below.
Use our Entitlement Calculator to quickly check online what allowances you're entitled to.
DISCLAIMER: The information on VMAM is made available for the convenient access of VMAM users, and the estimate provided does not in any way reflect a liability or final entitlement due to the UN Volunteers. The estimates shown on this webpage are merely for the purpose of budget preparation and may change from time to time. While UNV makes every attempt to ensure that information is up-to-date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose.
Volunteer Medical and Life Insurance Coverage
As an international UN Volunteer, you are covered by the UNV provided medical insurance scheme (CIGNA) for the duration of the international UN Volunteer assignment. The UNV funded medical insurance coverage only extends to the Primary Family Unit who are authorised by UNV to reside at the duty station. Your medical insurance coverage begins from the date of arrival in the country of assignment and ceases one month after the last day of the international UN Volunteer contract date.
You are also covered by a life insurance for the duration of the UNV assignment. In case of death of an international UN Volunteer during the UNV assignment, the designated beneficiaries will be entitled to receiving the life insurance lump sum per the beneficiary form signed and submitted upon
arrival at the duty station.
For more information on eligible Primary Family Unit, or recognized dependents, and medical and life insurance coverage please refer to ICOS, sections 5.3, 5.6, and 9. Additionally, the video and policy documents below provide comprehensive description of the medical and life insurance benefits provided by CIGNA.
Learning is arguably the most important part of a successful volunteer experience. While, any UN Volunteer assignment represents a unique professional experience and learning opportunity. Experiences with peers, learning by doing, experimenting, and social interactions transcend all aspects of the volunteer experience and contribute to developing your skills and competencies.
The United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme offers learning opportunities before, during and towards the end of your assignment to support your learning and professional development as a UN Volunteer with the UN System.
Mandatory UN system courses
UNV core eLearning courses
Assignment Preparation Training (APT) for UN Youth Volunteers
Peer-to-peer learning (Buddy System)
Your learning and
On-demand personal and professional skill development
Career transition support
Recognition of volunteer results, learning, personal and professional development (via Volunteer Reporting Application)
Your Host Entity, the United Nations (UN) organization you are assigned to, is responsible for providing you with access to their online learning platforms, conducting induction programmes at the duty station, and to enable your participation in learning opportunities relevant to your role and responsibilities.
It is your responsibility to take the time to reflect on your experience, recognise the learning, and apply to your workplace contexts. This critical cycle of making learning tangible and explicit helps you become aware and develop your skills and competencies, thereby contributing to your professional development, performance, and overall satisfaction.
Volunteer Reporting using the Volunteer Reporting Application (VRA) is an obligatory exercise for all UN Volunteers with a compulsory annual and end-of-assignment reporting. During the assignment, make use of the VRA regularly to record and report your contributions in terms of volunteer results, beneficiaries, added value, and trigger call for action on opportunities. It also enables you to record information on your learning, personal and professional development, and satisfaction with the UNV
assignment. The VRA enables you as a UN Volunteer, as well as the entire UNV programme, to recognize and systematically demonstrate your efforts and results in real-time to the global
You will be provided with access to VRA once you arrive at your duty station. For further assistance, please contact our service desk at email@example.com.
Safety and Security
UNV attaches the highest priority to the safety and security of UN Volunteers. The security situation volunteers are likely to encounter depends on the local circumstances in the country of assignment. The infographic below provides guidance on placement of UN Volunteers in various security risk environments.
Prior to travel you are required to complete the mandatory BSAFE online training available on e-Campus. Some duty stations may require you to undergo additional security training upon arrival - your host entity will arrange arrival security briefing, and any applicable training, at your assignment location and inform you accordingly.
While on assignment, you, and any authorised dependent(s) at the duty station, are subject to the overall direction and guidance of the UN Designated Official with respect to security matters. They are incorporated into all applicable security plans and are required to strictly adhere to the guidelines, security plans and other directives issued by the UN Designated Official.
You must register on UNDSS TRIP and ensure that your contact information is always up to date. You are expected to record all travel information during your assignment, personal and work-related, on TRIP and obtain security clearance prior to traveling. Noncompliance has serious implications on your insurance and security coverage.
Visit the “Travel Advisory” section for detailed information on the security levels in effect at duty station, security clearance procedure, and emergency contact information. See instructions on Security Clearance for information on the registration process.
Electronic Travel Advisory (eTA) Mobile App
Download the Electronic Travel Advisory (eTA) Mobile App to increase your security awareness of your current location and to assist security personnel of the United Nations Security Management System (UNSMS) to provide you with the best possible security. The eTA allows you to have relevant security information about your location at your fingertips, including:
- The UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) Weekly Travel Advisory, including information on threats and risks in your location.
- Emergency contact information of your closest UNDSS security personnel.
- Notifications sent by UNSMS security personnel to inform and warn you about current or potential security events that could affect your work.
- The app also allows UNSMS security personnel to send and receive notifications of your status in the event of a crisis or emergency and allows them to know where you are if you need help.
ALL UN personnel have security roles and responsibilities, outlined in the Framework of Accountability.
In general terms, they are:
- Be prepared and comply with UN security requirements
- Do not expose yourself or others to danger
- Report incidents
Basic principles of security
- Avoid carrying valuables which are not essential during your assignment – keep your personal effects to the minimum. Remember that it’ s not worth losing your life for the sake of material possessions.
- At the duty station, find out about customs, potential threats, areas to avoid, and how it is customary to dress and behave.
- Always be aware and alert of your surroundings – look out for the unusual.
- Depending on the situation, you may want to call attention to yourself: scream, shout, blow the horn of your vehicle, etc. Learn a few phrases in the local language to signal your need for help.
- Rehearse what actions you would take if you were confronted by an aggressor, including planning for safe places if need be.
- Be methodical and disciplined in establishing your security procedures - you are accountable to comply with the United Nations system security regulations, plans, and procedures.
- Bear in mind that the UN may need to contact you in case of an emergency. Make sure you and your family members are always contactable – carry a mobile phone or radio.
- Ensure your host entity, UNV Field Unit (if applicable), and your profile in VMAM is always updated with your most current contact information, including mobile number.
- Know your security warden and always have the emergency contact numbers on you.
Protection and Prevention - Duty of Care for UN Volunteers
A duty of care is an obligation on one party to ensure to prevent harm being suffered by another. In the context of UN Volunteers, the UN Host Entities have the obligation of primary duty of care. Allegations that UN Volunteers have been subject to discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment and abuse of authority (collectively known as “prohibited conduct”) should be primarily responded to by the UN Host Entity to which they are assigned. Nonetheless, in some circumstances UN Volunteers may also opt to report such allegations directly to UNV personnel at HQ country and regional levels.
UNV, as part of the UN system, takes allegations of all forms of misconduct seriously. As the administrative authority for UN Volunteers, UNV has a residual duty of care and takes the obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of the UN Volunteers seriously. Accordingly, the Regional Portfolio Specialist at UNV Regional Office is the designated focal person for UN Volunteers reporting sexual harassment and other prohibited conduct. They may liaise with host entities to ensure that policies and practices are being properly applied and that UN Volunteer’s wellbeing and safety is assured through protective actions, as deemed necessary.
The Duty of Care infographic clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the various support offices available to UN Volunteers. Whether you seek to obtain ethics advice, file a report of misconduct, or dispute, this summary will guide and assist you in navigating the various offices and mechanisms available to you as a UN Volunteer.