Shaping the role of volunteerism in the next decade: UNV workshop at the 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference
The new development agenda is less than 500 days ahead. At the UNV workshop on "Volunteering post-2015: telling the story of people's engagement", UNV and partner NGOs - the Post-2015 Volunteering Working Group, the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (FORUM/IVCO) and VSO - addressed the rationale and the opportunities for civil society to be an active player in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Along with positioning the relevance of volunteering in the context of the post-2015 agenda, the workshop launched a global survey on a 10-year plan of action that integrates volunteering in peace and development in the next decade. The Zero Draft of this plan has been put together by UNV on mandate by the UN General Assembly.
The UNV workshop, held on 29 August 2014 , was part of the 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference on "2015 and beyond: our action agenda" (New York, 27-29 August 2014), the last opportunity for NGOs to deliver a collective statement on the proposed Sustainable Development Goals before the start of the negotiations in September 2014. The strong presence of volunteer-involving organizations (VIOs) throughout the Conference, active under the umbrella of the post-2015 Volunteering Working Group, influenced the Conference Declaration which includes important references to the role of v olunteerism, participation and civic engagement for development after 2015.
500 days, 500 ways: UNV partners with VIOs to recognize volunteerism in the 500 days to the MDGs deadline
August 18, 2014, marked the 500 day milestone until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To celebrate the event and to recognize volunteers contribution to development, UNV, VSO International, IAVE, VSA, AVI and other partners launched the 500 days, 500 ways campaign, which aims to give visibility to the action of volunteers for peace and development by featuring a volunteer story per day until 31 December 2015.
Volunteering helps attain development objectives in a sustainable way, because it durably influences the way people relate to their communities. It also provides opportunities for wider participation in development processes, including for those otherwise marginalized and excluded, and offers volunteers real-life experience as an additional asset.
UNV is therefore actively advocating for the integration of volunteerism in the new set of development goals that will succeed the MDGs, together with partner VIOs active in the post-2015 Volunteering Working Group.
By the way: did you know that the MDG icons, transcending language and culture and representing global symbols of the eight MDGs, were designed by a UN Volunteer?
Dirk Hegmanns (Germany) co-won the UNDP Administrator's Innovation and Commitment Award in 2005 for his design work as part of an MDG outreach campaign in Brazil.
Why volunteers are central to achieving sustainable development
Volunteers and volunteer groups need to be included in the creation and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals if these are to be truly people-centric, writes Kate Cotton, global adviser, volunteering for development at the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). "This will in turn help to contribute to solutions that are sustainable and put people at the center of development cooperation," she notes. Read the full article
VSO is a member of the post-2015 Volunteer Working Group, established in 2013 following a dedicated UN Volunteers stakeholder meeting and the IVCO Conference. This Group aims to support the integration of volunteerism as an enabling factor for the implementation of the sustainable development goals.
The Post-2015 Volunteer Working Group has recently circulated to UN Member States an open letter that calls for the recognition of volunteer groups in development cooperation, and advocates for the inclusion of participation and citizen-led engagement in the post-2015 agenda. The Volunteer Group also proposed amendments to the Open Working Group's Zero Draft of the SDGs for Member States' consideration.
Volunteering for sustainable development: strengthening accountability of the post-2015 framework through citizen engagement
On 3 July 2014, UNV hosted a side event to the 2nd meeting of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development on "Volunteer Action Counts for Sustainable Development: How to strengthen accountability of the post-2015 framework through citizen engagement". The event was organized in collaboration with VSO and IAVE, who participated together with a national UN volunteer from Haiti, and the Youth Volunteering Focal Point for Colombia Joven, a Presidential Programme of Colombia.
The discussion concerned measures to integrate volunteerism as a form of civic engagement at local level in the new sustainable development framework, and explored opportunities to strengthen its overall accountability through enhanced multi-stakeholder partnerships at national level.
Open letter to Member States on volunteering and the SDGs
The Post-2015 Volunteer Working Group has circulated an open letter to UN Member States in view of the next session of the Open Working Group (OWG) starting today in New York.
The letter states that volunteering is a complementary means of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that enhances the accountability of the new framework. It also calls for the recognition of volunteer groups in development cooperation, and advocates for the inclusion of participation and citizen-led engagement in the goal, target and indicator structure.
Civil society's views on the means of implementation of the post-2015 agenda presented to Member States
On Monday 30 June, UNV and the other co-leads of the UNDG Dialogue on Partnerships with Civil Society presented to Member States a synthesis of the feedback provided by civil society on the means of implementation of the post-2015 agenda.
Key messages indicate that the means of implementation of the new sustainable development agenda should:
- ensure that partnerships are fully inclusive and participatory, moving beyond consultations to comprehensive engagement;
- mandate economic, social and environmental safeguards in partnerships;
- expand the concept of public-private partnership to embrace cooperatives and social and solidarity economy enterprises.
Consolidating recognition of volunteerism in the post-2015 agenda
UNV’s contribution to the just-released CIVICUS 2014 State of civil society report deals with “Volunteerism, civic engagement and the post 2015 agenda”. It focuses on what civil society, intergovernmental organizations and volunteer groups can do to consolidate the integration of volunteerism in the different thematic areas and implementation mechanisms of the post-2015 framework.