UNV Executive Coordinator Mr. Olivier Adam spoke today at the IVCO Conference in Seoul in a panel discussion on global advocacy to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 17 on revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development. The need to establish an enabling environment for volunteerism “to fully contribute to the realisation of any future sustainable development agenda” was the overarching theme of this year’s IVCO.
The panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Kylee Bates, World President of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). Along with Mr. Adam, Mr. Fredrick Sadia, Secretary & National Coordinator of the Volunteer Involving Organizations Society from Kenya, and Mr. Paul Bird, Chief Executive Officer of Australian Volunteers International (AVI), participated in the panel.
Mr. Adam highlighted the need to better measure the impact of volunteerism: “From the UN’s perspective, we want to see a common foundation for discussions on the contribution of volunteering, and we want to see it embedded in mainstream systems. That is why we have decided to focus on measuring the scale and scope of volunteering – through supporting Member States to do so. We have a new project with the International Labour Organization (ILO) starting this month which will promote the Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work to increase its outreach beyond the 20 or so countries that have used or adapted the module, and we really feel that this is where we can have the most value as an organization.”
Mr. Adam also mentioned that partnerships with national governments and local actors were vital for building solutions that were sustainable, especially in the face of very limited resources. “In partnering with each other, we will be able to leverage the different resources and capacities and have greater impact,” he said.
UNV also participated in a parallel dialogue on how international volunteer cooperation organisations (IVCOs) and volunteer involving organisations (VIOs) can create innovative partnerships or enabling environments at the national and local levels, including innovative partnerships that foster enabling environments and vice versa. Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief of UNV’s Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation Section, moderated a dialogue that included the participation of Mr. Young Su Min, President of the not-for-profit SPARK, and Mr. Lianli Xu from the Beijing Volunteer Service Federation (BVF).