National UN Volunteer Gao Wei distributes food and medicine to local residents after Wenchuan Earthquake
National UN Volunteer Gao Wei distributes food and medicine to local residents after Wenchuan Earthquake (UNV China, 2008)

Partnering for a research symposium on volunteerism

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme together with Beijing Normal University, Beijing Volunteer Service Federation, and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) are bringing around 100 representatives from Chinese volunteering organizations, academia, and government to discuss national priorities for research on volunteerism on 9 June 2017 at Beijing Normal University in Beijing.

Globally one billion people are engaged in volunteering – representing a powerful, cross-cutting means of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals. However, there remains a huge demand for empirical evidence on the value of volunteering for sustainable development. China has experienced strong growth and innovation in its volunteering infrastructure, and today there is a pressing need to evaluate and share innovative Chinese approaches to volunteering for sustainable development.

As Professor Guan Chenghua from Beijing Normal University says: “Chinese volunteering has become increasingly promoted by government, society, and the private sector. Volunteering can make strong contributions towards achieving sustainable development in China, but to realize its full potential we need to evaluate and analyze what we have done, while at the same time sharing and learning with international partners.”

The Beijing meeting will kick off a new alliance between organizations looking to present data and evidence on China at a global technical meeting on volunteering in 2020.  The meeting will also mark the launch of a new volunteering alliance for the Belt and Road Initiative, and a new report on the economic value of volunteering by Professor Guan Chenghua. 

“UNV is excited to join so many organizations in China to learn from the latest research and evidence on volunteering, and to discuss implications for policy and practice,” underlines Maggie Carroll, Policy Specialist, Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation at UNV.