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

United Nations high level leadership publicly acknowledge volunteers’ contribution to sustainable development

The President of the UN General Assembly called for recognition of volunteerism at the High-level Stocktaking event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Contributions to the Secretary-General's Synthesis Report. This event was organized by the outgoing President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, to provide the Secretary-General, member states, UN agencies and other stakeholders with a final moment of joint reflection, review and assessment of all inputs received through the different streams of the post-2015 process.

20140912 SGandPGA w250In the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and of senior executives from several UN agencies, the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) publicly acknowledged in his opening address the role of volunteers and their contributions to sustainable development by saying: "...Policy makers should explore new ways of engaging civil society in the design of development and other policies. To ensure wide "buy-in" of the post-2015 development process, we have to provide opportunities for people to exercise their right to be included in decision-making and build an inclusive approach for implementation. Attention also needs to be paid to volunteers and community organizations/cooperatives who can make significant contributions to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteering allows people to work side-by-side on the post-2015 agenda and is integral to participatory democracy. Volunteerism needs to be recognized by local authorities and at different levels." (see opening session video at 8':17'' or read the Statement)

At the end of his term, Ambassador Ashe is leaving behind a documented legacy of the most critical inputs that have emerged during the post-2015 process. The high-level event aimed to inform the Synthesis Report that the Secretary-General will deliver by end of this year for discussion by the UN General Assembly.

AdjmalPGA w250The day before, Adjmal Dulloo, a volunteer representing the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (FORUM), had given a speech on behalf of the Post-2015 Volunteering Working Group at the Interactive Meeting between Civil Society and Member States, organized by GA President Ashe as a prelude of the High-level stocktaking event.

In his speech, Mr Dulloo highlighted the important role that volunteers can play in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and stressed that local bodies, national governments and international policy-makers need to recognize the contributions of volunteers to sustainable development. He also called on the Secretary-General to include volunteerism in his synthesis report as a complementary means of implementation.

President Ashe had already recognized in his response that volunteers and community organizations could make significant contributions to the implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda, and stressed that the Secretary-General would be "best served if he acknowledged the contributions that volunteers could make". Mr Dulloo's speech and the reaction by the GA President can be watched in the session video from minute 52':47'' to 59':27''.

The Post-2015 Volunteering Working Group represents at the UN a number of volunteer-involving organizations which aim to integrate volunteerism in the sustainable development framework. The group has been supported by UNV since its establishment in 2013.