Meeting the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda requires the efforts of all of society. Everywhere, every day, ordinary people are acting on the issues that they care about. Over one billion active volunteers are carrying out a wide range of roles, from providing care and support to neighbours, extending basic services to under-served areas, campaigning for policy change, or building new relationships across polarized communities.
The event will take stock of progress and ways to strengthen volunteering in the development context. Participants will explore the new factors, best practices, lessons learnt that are important to reimaging volunteering for the 2030 Agenda.
According to recent estimates in the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2018, there were over 8.9 million full time equivalent volunteers in the Arab States region (18 countries reporting) in 2018. 17.1% are formal volunteers, within organized volunteer structures, while the vast majority (82.9%) are volunteering informally.
Katinka Weinberger, Chief of the Environment and Development Policy Section, Environment and Development Division at ESCAP, delivered the opening remarks.
By learning about the interconnected nature of the SDGs and using a systems thinking approach, we hope that you will be better equipped to support the integration of volunteerism in policies and programmes that place people at the center, to ensure that no one is left behind. --Katinka Weinberger, Chief of the Environment and Development Policy Section, ESCAP
It is estimated that there are 12.1 million full time equivalent volunteers in Africa with the highest proportion of people volunteering informally (86 per cent). Several countries in the continent have formulated and adopted volunteer policies and laws to strengthen an enabling environment for volunteering to thrive in Africa.
Why volunteering and inequality?
United Nations (UN) Member States and other actors have taken steps to achieve the SDGs by 2030, including many that involve volunteering.
There has been significant progress in some areas such as education, with more than 92.58 per cent of young men and 88.61 per cent of young women literate, but much work still remains to tackle critical challenges.
There are one billion people who are estimated to actively volunteer worldwide. The 2015 Human Development Report (HDR) highlights that, volunteering creates social value and fosters innovation where markets and organizations were unable to make a direct contributions to peace and development in areas such as education, health, water and sanitation.
By 2030, the sustainable goals (SDG4) aims to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. Nowadays, young women do not have the same access to education and training as their male peers. According to UNICEF, globally, 264 million children and adolescents do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school.
Young people gain professional, technical, and soft skills (creativity, leadership, critical thinking) that are crucial for employability through their volunteering activities.
The GTM 2020 will be co-chaired by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) and will discuss “Reimagining volunteerism for the 2030 Agenda” at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
The GTM 2020 will be informed by a Global Synthesis Report that will analyze evidence gathered by the Plan of Action Secretariat in 2018 and 2019. More information about the Plan of Action.