I was working for the Irrigation Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Japan (currently the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) when I was invited to speak at a symposium hosted by the United States Consulate in Fukuoka. At the event, the Principal Officer gave me a book entitled The Good War: the U.N.'s World-Wide Fight Against Poverty, Disease and Ignorance. That chance encounter, in the summer of 1969, changed my life.
The main theme of this year’s Forum is “University Consortium and Volunteers”. The Forum will provide an opportunity for the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to strengthen its long-standing partnership with Japanese universities for the mobilization of young Japanese professionals fielded as University UN Youth Volunteers. Currently, nine universities are part of United Nations University Volunteers Program led by the Kwansei Gakuin University and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan.
On 28 June 2016, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme concluded a partnership agreement with Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. UNV has long been engaging with different private sector partnerships, even before the launch of the UN Global Compact in 2000. UNV placed over 200 volunteers from the private sector for short-term assignments to support such diverse areas as food industry and environmental assessments.
From 1993 to 2006, Mr Takehito Nakata served as UNV’s one and only Honorary Ambassador, in honour of his son, Atsuhito Nakata, who was tragically killed while serving as UN Volunteer Electoral Supervisor for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia in 1993. Mr. Nakata dedicated his time to the promotion of volunteerism in Japan. He undertook numerous keynote speeches, lectures and interviews with the aim of increasing UNV’s visibility and promoting volunteerism. His official missions and in-country activities were financed by the Japan Trust Fund.
Volunteerism is a fundamental source of community strength and resilience that exists in all societies throughout the world. The role of volunteerism, in general, and mobilizing and managing volunteers, in particular, are important components of any disaster risk management strategy that aims at fostering community recovery, strength and resilience in vulnerable areas. In the last decade, almost one million people have been killed by disasters, many of them volunteers who were at the forefront of responding to emergencies, and more than one trillion dollars have been lost.
Naomi Umeda, UN University Volunteer from Japan, talks about her 5 month placement at UNV Cambodia Field Unit.
During its first Partnerships Forum, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme signed a new cost sharing agreement with Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) of Japan. In this new agreement, Kwansei Gakuin University pledges to support UNV’s activities in Japan. This Agreement was signed by Professor Takahiro Shinyo, the Vice President of KGU.
Mr. Shinichi Iida, Director of Global Issues Cooperation Division, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan and his team visited the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme headquarters in Bonn to have a strategic dialogue with UNV on 18 March 2014. Japan has affirmed that five priority areas in the UNV Strategic Framework 2014-2017 are aligned with the Japanese Overseas Development Aid (ODA) priorities.
Youth development is one of the most important issues on the global agenda for peace and sustainable development. About 65 per cent of the total population of Africa is below the age of 35, and over 35 per cent is between 15 and 35. Volunteerism offers valuable opportunities for youth to engage and contribute to the development of peaceful and inclusive societies. It also allows young people to become active empowered citizens, to acquire skills, build their capacities and increase their employability.