In June 2012, twenty years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the international community returned to the city to champion sustainable development at Rio+20. Civil society, governments and the United Nations joined together to examine the progress from the previous two decades and to plan the journey ahead.
Against this backdrop, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the UN organization promoting volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide, united the individual actions of volunteers, amplifying their messages to the world with one voice. And so the Volunteer Action Counts campaign was born.
People world-wide spread the word about the impact of volunteering using social media and our website, and sent messages to representatives gathering in Rio. As promised, our website counted each volunteer action worldwide. By the time the summit took place, an unprecedented 64+ million actions had been counted. They did not go unnoticed.
"Let us not forget the 64 million individual actions captured by the 'Volunteer Action Counts' initiative spearheaded by the United Nations Volunteers," UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon said to the UN General Assembly, on June 28, 2012 in New York. "This is a remarkable testament to bottom-up, grass-roots commitment. It is yet one more demonstration of how Rio+20 is mobilizing a global movement for change,"
With International Volunteer Day approaching on 5 December, we are building on the achievements of Rio to further raise the global consciousness of volunteering. We will be using our website and social media to gather more stories of volunteering and to broadcast these actions to the world.
We invite all volunteers—present, past and future—to sign in to our website. We want to see and celebrate what you are doing. We want to keep you informed on upcoming events, opportunities and best practices. Everyone is invited to join in, from individuals to entire organizations. Share your stories with us. Build a community. Show the world volunteering matters. Your #actioncounts.