Sustainable development cannot be achieved without people’s engagement in all stages. This important lesson learnt from the Millennium Development Goals is now reflected in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which is universal, transformational, holistic and people-centred, and aims to leave no one behind.
Acknowledging that traditional means of implementation need to be complemented by participatory mechanisms that facilitate people’s engagement, the 2030 Agenda explicitly names volunteer groups as actors in their own right among the means of implementation. Volunteer groups can be brokers of engagement, connecting institutional initiatives with volunteer action at community level and strengthen local governance. Volunteers can facilitate and support people’s engagement in planning, implementing and monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thereby fostering local ownership and leveraging innovative development solutions from the ground up.