In 1971, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme deployed its first 35 UN Volunteers to serve in Chad, Bangladesh and Yemen with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Two years later, in 1973, the number grew to 93 UN Volunteers serving for the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and FAO. Since then, UNV has worked with UN Member States and other partners to include volunteers in their development processes.
Africa has been identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Ecosystems are already being affected and future impacts could be substantial.
East and Southern Africa has been experiencing more frequent extreme weather events and changing rainfall patterns, leading to droughts in some areas and flooding in others. The region’s population is highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture, making it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including potential effects on food security.
As an international UN Youth Volunteer fully funded by the Czech Republic, Tereza dedicated most of her time at MiLab to designing technology-based solutions to address development challenges in the country.
Her work involved projects such as digital education for Moldovan children, using behavioral science to reduce plastic and energy consumption, utilizing Big Data for urban development, and introducing blockchain-based solar power solutions for public institutions.
Having volunteered for various causes over the past 10 years, from working in animal shelters to supporting playgrounds for disabled children, Polina quotes Mahatma Gandhi to explain her motivation:
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. These words of Gandhi describe my attitude towards volunteering. --Polina Listopad, UN Volunteer with UNICEF, Moldova
The UN University Volunteer scheme enables young students enrolled in a University to broaden their personal and professional skills and gain experience in the field of international development and peace, while contributing to the work of the UN. In 2017, 98 UN University Volunteers served with 16 UN host entities in 34 countries, 75 per cent of them women.
“I served with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. My six-month assignment helped me gain many invaluable experiences that contributed to my personal and professional growth,” says Karinda Chuntavorn, a UN Youth University Volunteer in Resource Mobilization. Her assignment was supported by the Agency for Volunteer Service (AVS) and the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Home Affairs Bureau (HAB).
Today’s dialogue expands the current collaboration – specifically in support of peacebuilding and climate action, two key priority areas for Korea.
“In view of the importance of Korea-UNV cooperation, our government has decided to increase the UNV contribution from US $1.96 million to US $3.15 million and expects to continue our budget contribution in the future,” said Mr Lee Jang-keun, Director General of the International Organizations Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Based on the increase in our contribution, we plan to double the number of UN Volunteer specialists and UN Youth Volunteers fully funded by Korea.”
Soon he would be carrying out a host of duties to help Timor-Leste’s citizens take action against global warming.