Approximately one billion people are engaging in voluntary action globally. Their activities range from delivering services, preparing and responding to disasters and providing technical assistance such as in mapping and monitoring climate and environmental data.
The growing environmental awareness, often enabled by powerful and cheap new mobile and open technologies, is further triggering new data collection and monitoring efforts by volunteers.
UNV Executive Coordinator Mr. Olivier Adam spoke today at the IVCO Conference in Seoul in a panel discussion on global advocacy to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 17 on revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development. The need to establish an enabling environment for volunteerism “to fully contribute to the realisation of any future sustainable development agenda” was the overarching theme of this year’s IVCO.
The Voluntary National Reviews facilitate sharing experiences, successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs. They are voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and ideally involve multiple national stakeholders. The Reports are expected to serve as a basis for the annual reviews by the HLPF.
On 6 July 2017, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Serbia jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted in Belgrade a conference entitled Volunteerism for the Sustainable Development Goals. UNV Serbia facilitated the NGO, CSO and VIO joint-meeting to share knowledge, connect networks, and draw on best practices.
While roughly a fifth of Cambodia’s population is estimated to live in poverty, reportedly 300,000 young people enter the labour market seeking job opportunities every year. The report “Volunteerism and youth employment in Cambodia” presents ways to leverage volunteerism as an essential mechanism for skills development amongst youth.
The report includes examples of how empowered Cambodian youth make a difference in their communities. It presents volunteering models that helped Cambodia recover from the decades of war and contributed to the country’s development, some of which can be replicated across the world.
According to the results presented in the report, volunteer programmes in Cambodia have made a difference in reducing poverty, eradicating illiteracy, improving health, promoting gender equality, and protecting human rights and the environment.
The SDGs are not business as usual for development cooperation and aid financing. The Agenda 2030 recognizes that financial institutions and national governments need to facilitate people’s engagement, especially locally, for real sustainable development for all.
UNV: What do you see as the intrinsic values volunteerism can bring to the human development agenda?
Selim Jahan: Firstly, volunteerism is undoubtedly helping the human development agenda. Volunteers are working in areas such as education, health, water and sanitation, improving living conditions and, in a nutshell, providing people with all kinds of support. Volunteerism enhances human development, everywhere.
The International Volunteer Day was celebrated in Mali and chaired by Prime Minister Mobido Keita who reiterated, in the presence of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme Deputy Executive Coordinator, Nicola Harrington, that the national authorities are committed to promote volunteerism.