A global meeting will take place in 2020 at the United Nations to discuss the future of volunteering in achieving the SDGs.

Global Technical Meeting 2020 on Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda

A global technical meeting on volunteering will take place in 2020 as a special event on the margins of the 2020 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York. The UN General Assembly resolution defines the meeting theme “Reimagining volunteering for the 2030 Agenda” and requests that the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme organize it jointly with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The meeting will provide a platform to advance the debate on volunteering and identify how volunteering can accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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.

Development actors are looking at best practice and lessons learned to reach the SDGs, realizing that without a collective effort from everyone the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will not be achieved.

Volunteering is often a powerful means to engage people to ensure that global sustainable development is owned and implemented by everyone and leaving no one behind. 

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs offer the global volunteering community the opportunity to elevate the discussion on the significance of volunteer action.

The momentum is being created for volunteering – be it its discourse or its understanding or the terms of volunteer engagement – to be ‘reimagined’ through the build-up to the meeting.  

The global technical meeting in 2020 (GTM2020) will be the first attempt since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda to gather UN Member States, the UN system, volunteer-involving organizations, civil society, including youth and women’s groups, academia, the private sector and volunteers themselves at the global level to jointly shape the future of volunteering. The meeting will showcase evidence, data and innovation around four thematic areas.  

1. Mapping trends and evidence on volunteering for the SDGs

An important foundation for reimagining volunteering will be to understand how volunteering itself is changing. The objective of this pillar is to map out trends and evidence on the contribution of volunteering to the SDGs through taking stock of which areas volunteering can be scaled up for the SDGs, where there are gaps and why.

2. Volunteering as SDG accelerator

Based on the success to date, this pillar will showcase distinctive volunteering models that help address critical and complex global problems, such as inequality and climate change. An acceleration matrix will be presented to highlight the distinctive characteristics of volunteering and how they could be scaled up to contribute to helping solve problems that are threatened to derail SDG progress. 

3. Next generation volunteering support

The purpose of this future oriented pillar is to present a blueprint for 21st-century volunteering for governments and their stakeholders and to help ensure a holistic enabling environment beyond creating laws and policies on volunteering. Inter-related factors shaping and impacting volunteering, such as space and methods for people engagement and policies on well-being will be reviewed along with the identification of a few select volunteering contexts that can be tailored to apply a forward-looking set of approaches under the blueprint.  

4.  Measuring volunteering for the SDGs

This pillar explores the scale and scope of volunteering, its contributions to the SDGs and its impact. Diverse approaches to measuring volunteering by different partners will be showcased, including through running a challenge fund, for policymakers and practitioners to look at the contribution of volunteering to the SDGs more comprehensively.

The expected outcome of the GTM2020 is a call to action by the global volunteering community to strengthen its positioning and narrative of volunteering in the global discourse on the SDGs through innovative models and approaches – making the ten years to follow the decade of action on volunteering.

The GTM2020 will be the culmination of the plan of action to integrate volunteering into the 2030 Agenda, proposed by the UN Secretary-General in 2015 at the request of the General Assembly in 2012. On the path to 2030, UNV and partners will continue with the promotion of volunteering in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, building on the key findings of the GTM2020.

To register for the Global Technical Meeting on "Reimagining Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda": volunteerSDGs.org

More information about the Plan of Action is available here.

Bonn, Germany