Resolution on 'Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' formally adopted by UN General Assembly

On 17 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/73/140, Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, encouraging the participation and integration of all people — including youth, older persons, women, migrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, minorities and other marginalized groups — in volunteer activities.  It also encouraged Governments, in partnership with the United Nations, the private sector, civil society and others to integrate volunteerism into national development strategies.

Resolution A/RES/73/140 was co-facilitated through the Third Committee of the General Assembly by the Permanent Missions of Brazil and Japan, and was cosponsored by 124 Member States. The resolution follows the Secretary General’s report ‘Plan of Action to integrate volunteering into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, which was presented to the Third Committee at its opening session on 2 October 2018.

UNGA73 Resolution on ‘Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’

The resolution details arrangements around the integration of volunteerism within intergovernmental process for the 2030 Agenda and enables UNV to appropriately support Member States, as well as the UN System, in their preparations leading up to the Global Technical Meeting, which will take place in 2020.

Aside from commending all volunteers globally — formal, informal, community, national, international, online, youth and older volunteers — for their contributions to the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - the key highlights of the resolution includes that the General Assembly:

  • Encourages Governments to integrate volunteerism into national development strategies, plans and policies, United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks or equivalent planning frameworks;
  • Encourages all Member States to include information on the scale, contribution and impact of volunteerism in future voluntary national reviews of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Welcomes that national-level analysis on volunteering will be inputs for regional consultations on volunteering in 2019, to be held under the auspices of the regional commissions of the United Nations in the context of the regional forums on sustainable development;
  • Requests the United Nations Volunteers programme, and invites the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to jointly organize the global technical meeting to be held in 2020 on the theme “Reimagining volunteerism for the 2030 Agenda”, to be held as a special event on the margins of the high-level political forum on sustainable development in 2020;
  • Encourages Member States in a position to do so to enhance their contributions to the Special Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Volunteers;
  • Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session, in three years in 2021, on the implementation of the resolution.

The history GA Resolutions on Volunteerism

Since 1968, there have been 20 General Assembly resolutions on the subject of volunteerism (including the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme). From 1968-1982, the first 10 General Assembly resolutions were about volunteerism in the context of the creation, focus and institution of UNV. Then, in 1985, A/RES/40/212 proclaimed the 5th of December as the ‘International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development’ (IVD).

Following the IVD resolution, there was a 12 year hiatus, until 1997, when A/RES/52/17 proclaimed 2001 the International Year of Volunteers (IYV). Every UNGA resolution since, has had its base in that particular IYV resolution. From 2002, the resolution followed a triennial circle, reporting on the follow-up / implementation of IYV.

In 2012, following the IYV ‘plus ten’ anniversary, resolution A/RES/67/138 included a request for a Plan of Action (PoA) to integrate volunteering in peace and development in the next decade and beyond. In 2015, the PoA was welcomed by Member States, in resolution A/RES/70/129 – which also requested the SG to report to the 73rd UNGA on the implementation of the resolution, including the PoA.

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