The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly recognizes volunteer groups as key actors to achieve the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following the launch of the 2030 Agenda in 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Plan of Action for Integrating Volunteerism into the 2030 Agenda, through Resolution A/RES/70/129 "Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the plan of action for the next decade and beyond".
The implementation of Agenda 2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean requires an intercultural approach that favors integration and inclusion, especially relevant for the establishment of joint work and dialogue with communities identified values and traditions of the vast and varied range of indigenous peoples that inhabit the region
The Guatemala Peace Accords were signed in 1996, ending a 36-year-long civil war, but some challenges remain in the construction of a peaceful and inclusive society. During the last years, Guatemala has witnessed an increase in social conflicts related to land disputes, lack of access to public services and natural resource management, among others.
It was in this context that I initiated my UN Volunteer assignment as a Conflict Resolution Officer with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Alexandra Palmquist, UN Youth Volunteer in Environment and Climate Change with UNDP Bolivia
Alexandra arrived in Bolivia six months ago and works on environmental management, monitoring activities, assessing outputs, and preparing reports.
Three national UN Volunteers are working to empower adolescent girls by raising awareness amongst adolescents, their families and local authorities on women’s rights, and addressing issues such as early marriage, sexuality and violence against women. Their work contributes to the Saqilaj B’e Joint Programme (JP) implemented by UN Women, PAHO/WHO, UNESCO, UNFPA and UNICEF, together with the Government of Guatemala.
Volunteerism enables youth engagement, leadership and participation
Within Latin America and the Caribbean, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 20 per cent of the population. This is the largest percentage of youth in this region, ever. The statistics are dire: 35 million of these young people never attended school, 39 per cent live in poverty and 25 per cent are unemployed.
Blanca is a Spanish UN Youth Volunteer; assigned in a UN Joint Programme led by UNDP in Guatemala, empowering isolated communities in San Marcos.
Blanca de la Cruz (española), Joven Voluntaria ONU internacional, presta servicio en un Programa Conjunto del PNUD en Guatemala que trabaja para empoderar a comunidades remotas de San Marcos.
Guatemala city, Guatemala: While serving as a UN Volunteer Finance Officer with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Guatemala, I had the opportunity to participate in pilot projects in the area of Finance. The whole financial framework of the WFP is in a process of transition towards higher transparency, cost efficiency and accountability. I was excited to contribute to this transformation.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: After my master’s degree in economics, I decided to change my career perspective to work in the humanitarian sector, in cooperation and development. I had two objectives: to fulfil the dream of knowing new cultures and countries, and to contribute, even in a small part, to improving the living conditions of people in developing countries.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: Guatemala is a young country. According to data provided by the National Statistical Institute, one fourth of the Guatemalan population is younger than 18 years old and one half is between 10 to 30 years of age. Most Guatemalan adolescents live in rural areas, and belonging to one of the ethnic indigenous groups makes them even more vulnerable given the discriminatory practices still existing in the country.