24 April, 2012, UN Headquarters, New York – The Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Mrs. Flavia Pansieri, and the Mr. Nikhil Seth, Director of the Division of Sustainable Development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) are jointly launching today the #ActionCounts campaign, to count people’s action around the world for sustainable development.
Everybody is already a volunteer for a sustainable future. Every single person is acting for sustainable development, by helping friends and family, by recycling waste, by teaching the kids how to turn off the tap. Most people are already volunteering without being aware of it. Some people volunteer further, and get involved in development or environmental action for a day, for a week, for a year. Their work, big or small, might sometimes go unnoticed to the world. But their actions count in the communities that have benefited from their hard work.
With the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) only two months away, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme wants to let volunteers show that they are building a sustainable future. www.volunteeractioncounts.org
That is why UNV has created a campaign for volunteers around the world - and not only the UN or NGO volunteers – for all volunteers - to have their actions counted and take them to Rio, where goals will be set for the way we will live on this planet over the next decades.
It's about being heard by the right people at the right time. Social media is the most powerful tool of our times. Through Twitter, Facebook and the web, all the actions in making the world a better place can be collected and brought to Rio+20 as a strong presence and force for change. Now is the perfect time to be heard. All the volunteers that want to share their story will use the same hashtag: #ActionCounts.
We're asking all people around the world to share their volunteer experiences using the social media tool they prefer:
- On Twitter (best choice), making a long story short and using the #actioncounts hashtag;
- On Facebook’s ActionCounts page www.facebook.com/ActionCounts;
- By leaving your story on www.actioncounts.org
By using these tools, UNV will collect all counts and stories to showcase at the Earth Summit in a multi-media presentation.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide.
Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. Over 7,500 qualified and experienced women and men of around 160 nationalities serve as UN Volunteers in some 130 countries.
The conference, Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens, took place in Bonn, Germany in September 2011, and focused on the role of civil society in creating and maintaining sustainable communities and developing responsive citizens. 1,300 participants from civil society organizations from 85 countries took part in four round table discussions, and more than 30 workshops and side events, of the three day conference in September 2011. The Conference offered NGOs and civil society activists in the fields of environment and development and volunteerism an opportunity to start the discussion about emerging issues for the future of sustainable development goals. Volunteer Action Counts is a continuation of these efforts and the desire to bring these concerns to Rio+20. Last week, only days before the initiation of the final round of 'informal-informal' negotiations on the draft outcome document for Rio+20, the General Assembly issued the Final Declaration of the UN DPI/NGO Conference “Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens” of as official document A/66/750 and circulate it to all UN Member-States.
Our partners are encouraging volunteers in their own organizations to make their contributions more visible at Rio+20 and beyond by registering their stories of action with us and getting counted in the Volunteer Action Counts campaign. Currently our main partners are Stakeholder Forum and Zerofootprint.
Rio+20 will bring together Governments and the international community - including the United Nations and NGOs - as they strive to set global political and development targets to move the world towards sustainable development. Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Last November, the Secretary-General and Rio+20 Secretary- General Sha Zukang announced a new campaign to promote the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this June in Rio de Janeiro. The campaign is “The Future We Want.” Its purpose is to engage people around the world in an exercise to envision how societies in all parts of the world can build a future that promotes prosperity, equity and improves people’s quality of life within the Earth’s life support systems. Volunteer Action Counts compliments and works closely with the Future We Want campaign.
Jennifer Stapper, Chief, Communications Section, UNV