Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in addressing development challenges

Forum volunteer network input to the High Level event on human rights and the rule of law in the post-2015 agenda (9-10 June 2014)

On the occasion of the High Level event of the UN General Assembly on "Contribution of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda", taking place in New York, the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) supports the recognition of the added value of volunteerism in implementing these aspects of the post-2015 agenda.

Forum is the global network for international volunteering in development, a global movement of volunteers working for a just world. Forum is also a member of the Task Force of volunteer groups that was established in September 2013 to scale up efforts to integrate volunteerism more systematically as an enabling factor for the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.

In particular, Forum recommends that "the UN General Assembly explicitly acknowledges the value and benefit of volunteer programs as they leverage expertise, resources and networks to address the Rule of Law and human rights issues."

Read the Forum input to the High Level event of the UN General Assembly on "Contribution of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda"

MY World Global Week of Action: Vote for a better world, volunteer to make it happen

National UN Volunteer Jonasson David trains volunteers from national organization Volunteers for Haitian Development (Volontariat pour le Développement d’Haïti - VDH) on the offline rollout of the MY World surveyTo support the MY World Global Week of Action (5-11 May), the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme collaborated with local partners to engage people in voting for their development priorities and getting involved through volunteering. 

MY World is the UN global survey asking people to choose their priorities for a better world. The Week aimed at collecting additional votes to increase the relevance of voices from around the world that inform global decision-makers in the formulation of the new development agenda.

UN Volunteers and partner organizations reached out to people - especially youth at schools, universities, local communities and events - to involve them in participating to shape the post-2015 agenda. Awareness raising and voting are the first steps towards actively participating today to define the new agenda, and monitoring its implementation tomorrow as a new form of citizen-state accountability.

During the Global Week of Action, UN Volunteers collected over 6000 votes in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru and Sudan. Further initiatives are ongoing and planned in these and other countries. In 2013, UNV collected over 45,000 votes directly, and thousands more indirectly through local partners.

View full photo gallery of volunteer initiatives for the MY World Global Week of Action

Have your say at the UN - Vote for your priorities


National UN Volunteer Jonasson David trains fellows from Volunteers for Haitian Development
(Volontariat pour le Développement d’Haïti - VDH) on the offline rollout of the MY World survey

Volunteers engage Bhutanese people in having their say at the UN through the MY World survey

BHUTAN-youth-voting May14 w200Nearly 800 people voiced out what matters most to them by voting in the global MY World survey at the Tarayana Fair in Thimphu, Bhutan on 2-4 May. UNDP Bhutan and UNV, in cooperation with the Tarayana Foundation, organized a voting session as part of the MY World Global Week of Action, aiming to collect 500,000 votes from around the world. They mobilized volunteer students from YHS Tarayana School Club to engage people in expressing their views through paper ballots at the MY World tent.

Vote for your priorities! UNV supports the MY World Global Week of Action to increase people’s direct input to the new development agenda

Through MY World, more than 2 million people from 194 nations have had their say at the UN. The Global Week of Action (GWA), from 5 to 11 May 2014, is a worldwide mobilization effort to gather an additional 500,000 votes.

MY World is the UN global survey asking people to choose their priorities for a better world as part of the wider consultation process for the post-2015 agenda. This ongoing process will identify the new development priorities to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after they expire in 2015. Votes, to be collected until 2015, are used to guide global decision-makers in the formulation of the new agenda.

UNV supports MY World and the Global Week of Action as a contribution to make the ongoing post-2015 consultations process truly inclusive. Many volunteers have been disseminating the survey, increasing the local outreach of this global exercise which captures people's voices to inform global leaders. This is part of UNV’s input for the definition of the new development agenda, and of its efforts for the integration of volunteerism in this framework.

In 2013, UN Volunteers and Field Units in about 20 countries were instrumental in conducting the survey especially offline, catalysing collaboration with local volunteers and ensuring that the voices of disconnected and remote communities, of people with disabilities, of youth and of women were heard. Their action shows that volunteers can mobilize people to formulate the new development goals as well as effectively contribute to addressing development challenges, through proactively engaging people of all ages, genders and backgrounds in shaping their lives.

Post-2015 - why should Bhutan care?

The UN Volunteer in Bhutan illustrates in this article, published in the Bhutan national newspaper Kuensel on 20 March 2014, the role of Bhutan in the definition of the post-2015 agenda and ways in which ordinary Bhutanese citizens can participate and voice out their views.

Post-2015 - why should Bhutan care?, by Riikka Suhonen

UNV co-leads UNDG post-2015 dialogue on Partnerships with civil society and other actors

The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) officially launched its Dialogues on Implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda. These dialogues continue the global conversation which has involved in 2013 almost two million people around the world in identifying priorities for the future development framework. While the first round of UNDG Post 2015 consultations focused on "what" should go in the new agenda, this second round focuses on "how" the new agenda should be implemented.

The post-2015 dialogues are a new opportunity to advance the recognition and integration of volunteerism in the new development agenda. P2015Dial icons w530

UNV is directly involved in two of the six dialogue thematic areas:

  • Localizing the post-2015 development agenda
  • Helping to strengthen capacities and institutions
  • Participatory monitoring for accountability - UNV is contributing agency
  • Partnerships with civil society and other actorsUNV is co-leader together with UNFPA, UN Millennium Campaign and UN-NGLS
  • Engaging with the private sector
  • Culture and development

Country dialogues on partnerships with civil society take place in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Saint Lucia, and Tunisia. In these countries, different stakeholders will discuss the partnerships and mechanisms through which civil society organizations can be fully involved in implementing the post-2015 agenda. The national dialogues are complemented by a global e-discussion.

UNV Field Units and Volunteers also support the dialogues in several other countries, on a case-by-case basis; some UN Volunteers actually serve as national focal points for the consultations.

Preliminary findings from the dialogues will be presented to UN Member States ahead of the General Assembly in September this year and inform the related Secretary-General Report. UNV encourages partners and stakeholders to join the national and global e-dialogues, to including volunteer voices across the different thematic areas.

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The power of engagement: gender, volunteerism and governance in the post-2015 development agenda

New York, USA: On 18 March 2014, a UNV side event to the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) discussed findings and experiences on ways to ensure that women's participation in public life through volunteerism breaks barriers of gender stereotypes and ensures more sustainable and more equitable development outcomes as the post-2015 agenda takes shape.

The event was attended by more than 100 participants, including UN agencies, civil society organizations and numerous member states. The panel included Rosemary Kalapurakal, Deputy Executive Coordinator, UNV; H.E. Ms. Sophie Kalinde, Ambassador, Chair of the Malawi Human Rights Commission; Dan Seymour, Deputy Director of Programmes, UN Women; Sapreet Saluja, Deputy Chair of the World Board of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS); Catherine Nixon, Community Health Worker and Mobilizer in Nepal, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Mtisunge Kachingwe, Volunteer for women's health projects in Malawi, World YWCA, and Karen Scheuerer, Youth and Volunteerism Specialist, Peace Corps, gave statements from the floor.

UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator chairs UNV side event at CSW58 on gender, volunteerism and governance in post-2015Ms Kalapurakal, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator, introduced the event starting from the theme of CSW58: challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls.

The debate focused around two key questions: what is needed to ensure that volunteerism as a form of civic engagement is recognized as a legitimate pathway to address development challenges in the post-2015 agenda, and how can countries ensure that more women - especially young women and girls – are able to take leadership responsibilities and have an impact on development outcomes.

A lively discussion involved several participants, including Hon. Dr Notarine Sangare, the Minister of Gender of Burkina Faso. The event concluded with agreement on the fact that governance is based on accountability and accountability only grows through commitment to the common cause. Volunteerism engages people in addressing development challenges from the bottom up. The new post-2015 sustainable development framework will only honour its name if it includes mechanisms providing pathways for women and men to proactively engage in planning and implementation in a shared and complementary effort with all other stakeholders. The degree to which people are able to engage in voluntary action is therefore an indicator of effective local governance. Member States shaping the new development framework should ensure that all resources and partnerships are leveraged and recognized and the added value of volunteering is acknowledged.

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Open consultation: Open Working Group seeks comments on their 'focus areas document' - Deadline extended to 21 March

The Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has concluded its eight information-collection sessions, during which they discussed a great number of topics to frame the successors of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Their 'focus areas document' sets out 19 broad issues for consideration.

The OWG would like to hear your thoughts on the focus areas document, answering the following questions:

You can submit your comments at The World We Want 2015 until Friday 21 March 2014.

The recently released UNV's Overview on advocating for volunteerism post-2015, which illustrates the complementary role that volunteerism could play in the context of the post-2015 agenda, could be a starting point to formulate comments from a volunteerism perspective.

Read UNV's comments to the focus areas document