UN General Assembly Proclaims 2026 as the International Year of Volunteers for Sustainable Development

This monumental decision, achieved through the collaboration of Member States of the General Assembly marks a pivotal moment in recognizing the invaluable contribution of volunteers worldwide towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNV and Switzerland to offer UN volunteering opportunities for youth in Tunisia

The Swiss Embassy and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Tunisia are launching a programme that will offer 185 young Tunisians the opportunity to gain professional experience through inclusive and impactful volunteering assignments within the United Nations Agencies, Funds, and Programs in Tunisia. These assignments will last from six to twelve months and will undergo a competitive recruitment process, led by UNV.

International Volunteer Day 2023

The theme of this year's IVD centers on the power of everyone - collective action - if everyone did.

If everyone volunteered the world would be a better place. 

Imagine more than eight billion of us volunteering. Limitless possibilities for sustainable development - food and education for everyone, clean environment and good health, inclusive and peaceful societies, and more.

A call for Haitians to volunteer with the UN

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has recently launched a call for diverse Haitian professionals to serve as UN Volunteers and contribute to the UN's humanitarian response to the recent earthquake in the country.

UNV calls on Haitians (or official residents) who are older than 22 years and willing to offer their skills and capacity to support an inclusive and sustainable response and recovery to the recent earthquake that devastated the country. 

UNV is looking for a wide range of professional profiles: Information Managers, Field Assistants, Midwives, Communication Officers, Emergency Medical Technicians, Nutrition Specialists, Shelter Specialists, Logistic Operations Specialists and WASH Specialists, among others. 

From the State of Palestine to Mali – the tale of a woman peacekeeper

What motivated a 34-year-old Palestinian woman to join a peacekeeping mission and settle in Mopti, a region of Mali prone to regular attacks from jihadists? When asked, Shirin Abufannouneh answered that this was the field experience she was looking for. Shirin serves as a UN Volunteer Judicial Affairs Officer with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Reading her story below, one feels that she was predestined to be a UN Volunteer. 

I didn’t know much about Mali. But after eight years spent between legal research and advocacy in different countries, I needed to be more in the field, closer to people, to understand how to implement the law. 

Volunteers and Volunteerism, reflections of Brenda McSweeney, former UNV Executive Coordinator

Dr Brenda Gael McSweeney (United States) served as Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, from 1988-1997.  She led UNV at a time when nearly 4,000 UNV specialists were serving annually in technical cooperation in the economic and social fields, community-based initiatives for self-reliance, humanitarian relief and rehabilitation, and UN peacekeeping operations. On 24 October 1997, Dr McSweeney was awarded, on behalf of the UN Volunteers, the Médaille de Chevalier de l’Ordre National from the Government of Burkina Faso in tribute to this meaningful and innovative work. As UNV turns 50, we feature an interview (1995) conducted by Frank Fremerey, CEO of HOME, and a video interview, conducted by Michael Littlejohns for the UN World Chronicle series, with our former Executive Coordinator. Find out more about Brenda's reflections on our mandate, work and partners 30 years ago. 

Volunteers and Volunteerism

Protecting the ocean and livelihoods off Kenya's coast

The ocean covers over 70 per cent of our planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. However, 90 per cent of big fish populations are already depleted, and 50 per cent of coral reefs have been destroyed. Mohamed Ahmed Hussein, 33, has been serving with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a national UN Volunteer for over two years now. With a background in marine science and management, he is working on coastal marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses. He shares with us his experience in ocean conservation.

What are your key responsibilities in this assignment?

UNV and Etihad Airways join forces to boost global volunteering

The agreement was signed remotely by Dr Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services, Corporate Social Responsibility, Etihad Aviation Group, and Mr Toily Kurbanov, Executive Coordinator, UNV. The collaboration between the two entities will strengthen volunteering globally and expand the reach to customers of Etihad.

UNV supports volunteering globally and in the Arab countries and aims to engage Etihad volunteers in advocacy events, increase awareness of volunteering opportunities, and accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind.

Volunteer-based solutions to guarantee peaceful, transparent and inclusive elections in Bolivia

"Being a UN Volunteer is an exciting role and it is a source of pride for me to work for the good of humanity." These are the words of Carlos del Castillo, a Peruvian UN Volunteer assigned to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Bolivia. Carlos is a Field Public Outreach Voter Education Expert and Electoral Advisor to the Departmental Courts in Chuquisaca and Potosi in Bolivia. "I’m 66 years old and if given the opportunity, I will continue serving as a volunteer until I am 70."

Carlos started his first assignment as a UN Volunteer in 1992 with elections in Cambodia. He is one of 28 UN Volunteers who served under the UNDP-implemented Electoral Assistance Project of the United Nations in Bolivia, a project that sought to re-establish trust in the electoral body, as part of the UN’s peacebuilding efforts in the country.

Thirteen years of sowing peace in Darfur

This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers comes five months after the United Nations Security  Council – through UNSC Resolution 2559 – ended the mandate of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as of 31 December 2020. Full withdrawal is to be completed by 30 June 2021, followed by a liquidation phase.

For UN Volunteers, many of whom have served with UNAMID for years, this is an emotional period, particularly as they bid farewell to local communities in Darfur.

Many UN Volunteers hope that their work and peace dividends gained in this peacekeeping operation over the last thirteen years can be sustained, at least for the sake of the vulnerable people who have endured suffering for far too long.