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


These issue briefs are part of a UNV series summarizing the contribution of volunteerism to different issues and highlighting its cross-cutting role. They support UNV's advocacy efforts to recognize volunteerism in the post-2015 development agenda as a form of civic engagement that provides a key complementary mechanism for social, economic and environmental transformation.


Cover of UNV IssueBrief on Peacebuilding and VolunteerismUNV Issue brief: Peacebuilding and volunteerism

Using evidence from post-conflict situations, this Issue Brief demonstrates how volunteerism can be a key means for supporting national peacebuilding and global sustainable development.

The engagement of citizens through volunteerism can be powerful in promoting social cohesion and reconciliation, and helping to develop national civilian capacities. All of these make a critical positive difference in peacebuilding processes and initiatives.


Cover of UNV Issue Brief on Social Inclusion and VolunteerismUNV Issue brief: Social inclusion and volunteerism

Discussions on the post-2015 agenda have recognized and emphasized the central importance of social inclusion in the new development framework.

Using research-based evidence, this Issue Brief demonstrates that volunteerism, when well facilitated, can be a powerful mechanism for promoting social inclusion all over the world. Any framework that aims to reverse a "top-down" approach must recognize the contributions of volunteerism in aiding progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensuring sustainable human development in a post-2015 world.


Cover of UNV Issue Brief on Environmental Sustainability and VolunteerismUNV Issue brief: Environmental sustainability and volunteerism

Volunteerism has been a key driver of the global environmental movement, mobilizing communities all over the world to help address environmental problems.

This Issue Brief demonstrates that incorporating volunteerism into the post-2015 development framework as a mechanism for achieving environmental sustainability is absolutely critical. When well facilitated, volunteerism not only supports the achievement of environmentally sustainable outcomes but also promotes long-term processes and shifts in mindsets that sustain environmental gains.

IssueBrief---BasicSocialServices w85UNV Issue brief: Basic services and volunteerism

Volunteer action, when well facilitated, can be a particularly effective mechanism to foster support and complement the state provision of essential services across a number of sectors.

This Issue Brief demonstrates how volunteer programmes provide opportunities for inclusive participation in development processes, which can positively influence the reach and qualitative outcomes of service delivery. By bringing political, attitudinal and behavioural change, volunteerism also promotes social transformations that can help overcome the obstacles towards ensuring basic services for all.



  • Advocating for volunteerism in the post-2015 development agenda at national level (June 2014)
    This preliminary report presents an overview of the UNV post-2015 project and examples of initiatives and achievements of post-2015 UN Volunteers across 2013 and early 2014.

  • UNV Overview: Advocating for volunteerism post-2015Overview cover
    This Overview presents UNV's vision on volunteerism and sustainable development, along with examples of volunteers' work in the post-2015 context. The post-2015 process offers an unprecedented opportunity for UNV to advocate for volunteerism and the values it stands for as an intrinsic component of any future global development framework.
    The Overview also looks towards the future at the potential of volunteerism for the implementation of the post-2015 framework, in relation to the plan of action for the integration of volunteerism in all relevant issues of the United Nations after 2015. This plan will be presented in 2015 to the United Nations General Assembly following the call made in 2012 through Resolution A/Res/67/138.
  • Youth volunteers - Engaging communities, changing livespost2015 brochure cover
    This publication aims to highlight volunteerism as an important universal strategy to promote the engagement of youth in achieving sustainable development in a post-2015 world. It collects stories gathered by UN Volunteers from across the world, capturing the journeys of young people which transform themselves and their development realities through volunteerism.
  • UNV Position Statement on the post-2015 development agenda (English Français Español)
  • Rio+20, MDGs and the post-2015 agenda (2-pager presentation)
  • Posters - Volunteering for post-2015 
  • Leaflet - Volunteering for post-2015
  • Volunteer Action Counts branding
  • Newsletters

Among the UN documents related to the development of the post-2015 agenda, the ones below are the most important mentioning volunteerism and supporting its integration in the new agenda.

For detailed information on mention of volunteerism in UN documents, please consult the UNV V-Mentions document - a living catalogue of mentions of volunteerism in key documents from the UN, Member States and other sources (version 27.5.2014).

  • million-voices w200A million voices: The World We Want. A sustainable future with dignity for all
    Final report of the UNDG national and thematic consultations
    View report | Download report (pdf)
  • A life of dignity for all:accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015
    Report of the UN Secretary-General
    View report | Download report (pdf)
  • UN-NGLS Post-2015 Primer #2 on the Open Working Group (2014)
    The primer provides in-depth information on the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including OWG members, explains the role of the UN Secretariat, and identifies opportunities for civil society and Major Groups participation in the OWG process
  • UN GA Resolution A/RES/67/290 on the Format and organizational aspects of the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development (9 July 2013)
    Following the successful recognition of volunteer groups as a relevant stakeholder, volunteer groups were explicitly recognised in this Resolution as official stakeholders with whom member states would interact in their discussions on sustainable development at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development. 
  • Sri Lankan youth: volunteering to make a difference (2014)
    This report documents a research carried out in Sri Lanka on youth volunteerism in the country and presents recommendations on ways to promote it, with specific regard to youth volunteerism as part of the post-2015 development agenda.
  • BGD Post-2015 Youth-English w85The world we want - Bangladeshi youth voices on a post-2015 world (2014) 
    This report summarizes the discussions and findings of the three youth consultations held in Jessore, Chittagong and Dhaka between August and October 2013. It highlights important principles and ideas that young people have to improve the world they live in. The consultations gathered 84 youth representatives from 30 youth-led organizations and institutions to understand young people's vision of a post-MDG world and ensure that their voices are heard at the national and global level. 
    Read/download the report (.pdf) | Read the report online

  • Call for action from Kazakhstan youth on Shaping the future we want: the contribution of volunteerism (2014)
    Young people in Kazakhstan are ready to take a leading role in creating a sustainable future with equal opportunities for all Kazakh citizens. Based on the conclusions of the Kazakhstan's post-2015 national consultations, Kazakh youth asks country's decisions makers at local and national level to promote inclusive and equitable development for the years after 2015. This call for action is the outcome of a workshop on "The World We Want: Youth and volunteerism through the prism of the post-2015 development agenda", organized by UNV Kazakhstan to allow young people's vision to be heard at the national and global level.
  • Volunteering for the MDGs in Bangladesh (2013)Cover of publication
    This booklet features volunteers stories about actions to achieve the MDGs in the country and touches upon post-2015 approaches. For Goal 8, dealing with a global partnership for development, a UN Youth volunteer shares her experience on promoting social inclusion in a post-2015 perspective. The post-2015 agenda and the sustainable development goals are introduced at the end of the book as a bridge to the forthcoming development framework.



  • CIVICUS: Advocacy toolkit - Influencing the post-2015 development agenda (2014)
    This toolkit is for civil society and other stakeholder organisations, coalitions and individuals that wish to influence the post-2015 development agenda, including the design and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The toolkit supports advocacy activities at the national, regional and international levels