In this time of global crisis, solidarity between people and communities is more important than ever. Volunteerism exists in all human societies and reflects important human values of mutual aid, service, community-building and engagement. It is often scaled up in times of crisis in response to immediate needs. Volunteers are already providing important services in the COVID-19 response and will be critical in supporting the recovery, especially as the public health crisis exacerbates economic and social inequalities and exposes vulnerabilities in many communities.
Volunteering and South-South cooperation share the common principles of mutuality, reciprocity, respect and equality and foster participatory approaches to development. For countries of the global south and their development partners, continuing to document lessons learned and share knowledge even in times of crisis enhances support and solidarity while helping countries stay the course of implementing best practices in development.
In this context, UNV and UNOSSC will be launching a publication titled “South-South Volunteering as a driving force for development: Experiences from the Asia-Pacific region”.
This publication reflects UNV’s belief that South-South and triangular cooperation and volunteerism are mutually reinforcing and enhance each other’s impact on driving forward sustainable development.
The paper features three case studies that show different aspects of South-South cooperation in volunteering: a volunteer programme embedded in a national development cooperation agency (Thailand), a national volunteer scheme supported by South-South funding, triangular and South-South knowledge exchange (Cambodia) and a project enhancing knowledge exchange to increase capacity for international volunteering for volunteer-involving organizations (China).
UNV has long been at the forefront of promoting southern participation in international volunteering, with over 80 per cent of UN Volunteers coming from and working in the global South.
We hope that this publication will further enhance understanding of the roles of volunteerism and South-South cooperation in supporting communities through the current crisis and into the future.
We would like to thank our partner governments, organizations, stakeholders and volunteers featured in this publication for their support in producing this edition of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Action publication series, with special thanks to the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs for providing funding.
This blog is extracted from the foreword of the publication by Mr Olivier Adam, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, and Jorge Chediek, UNOSSC Director and Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation.
The publication “South-South Volunteering as a driving force for development: Experiences from the Asia-Pacific region” will be launched in Thailand on 14 September 2020.