Today we launch the campaign for International Volunteer Day (IVD) 2017, “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere”. We want this day, 5 December 2017, to be a recognition of volunteer efforts around the world, and in particular of the support volunteers provide in times of instability, disasters and humanitarian crises.
Volunteers are the first to respond when crisis strikes, effectively responding to humanitarian emergencies everywhere. Often members of affected communities themselves, they help people to rebuild their lives in the immediate aftershock of a tragic event, and be better prepared to face uncertainty in the future.
Groups and individuals—most often regular people from all walks of life—rapidly descend to the affected areas, as commonly seen following natural disasters where they courageously provide vital assistance and support debris-clearing activities. Volunteers in times of crisis also provide life-saving and protection services to migrants, and work in communities to promote health, prevent diseases and respond to the basic needs of people affected by drought, poverty and conflict.
Investing in volunteers and joining forces across the United Nations, governments and volunteer-involving organisations to prevent the worst effects of crisis brings much-needed relief to the most vulnerable and ensures that needless suffering does not unecessarily repeat itself.
Join us today, and beyond IVD on 5 December, in recognizing the efforts and positive solidarity of volunteers who answer calls in times of need—despite the insecurity they often face—helping save lives today and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow.