The year 2011 marks the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10). In November 1997, the General Assembly at its 52nd session proclaimed 2001 the International Year of Volunteers (A/Res/52/17), as an acknowledgement of the important contributions volunteers across the globe are making in promoting peace and addressing social, economic, and cultural issues that the world have faced. United Nations Volunteers (UNV) was designated as the focal point for the Year.
UNV since then has devoted itself to further integrate volunteerism into development planning and project implementation, marked by the annual celebration of the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December. On the occasion of the IYV+10, UNV is rallying the support of the international community for celebration of this year’s International Volunteer Day.
IYV+10 and the 2011 International Volunteer Day seeking for your engagement
The International Volunteer Day has served as an instrumental occasion to diffuse advocacy messages on the value of volunteerism across the globe. On the day, individual volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations all around the world will host campaigns and events to highlight their contributions to the achievement of the MDGs and rally further support for volunteer activities. The events are short-lived, but aim to make the zealous advocacy efforts for volunteerism more visible.
The designation of the IYV +10 also resonates with further upholding and recognizing the values of volunteers’ roles. The IYV 2001 set out four primary goals: promotion, recognition, facilitation and networking of volunteer services. Accordingly, 123 national committees were established and operating by the end of 2001 to facilitate local as well as cross-national engagement of volunteers. In 2003, the General Assembly also requested the UN Secretary-General to factor volunteerism into his reports on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration(A/RES/57/106). In 2004, the international community convened to discuss the contributory role volunteers can play in achieving the MDGs, in the “International Conference on Volunteerism & the Millennium Development Goals”. Furthermore, a How-to book on measuring volunteerism’s contribution was recently published by UNV with a view to providing a practical tool for assessing volunteers’ contributions in development scenes. The launching of the publication was prompted by the need for a more delicate coordination on volunteers’ activities in development project implementation, which reflects the increased recognition on the significance of volunteers’ roles.
The IYV and the ensued decade thus have marked the launching of systemic efforts to further a global-level advocacy for volunteerism. This has grounded in the acknowledgement of the role of volunteerism, which creates a participatory opportunity for individuals in building a better world while strengthening solidarity of societies at large. This year’s IVD provides a timely opportunity to take stock of the progress made throughout the past decade and reflect on the future role of volunteers in increasingly complex development scenes as well as how best to maximize the impacts of their actions in line with global goals. To this end, UNV has initiated a campaign entitled Volunteering Matters: Light up your World. Its focal point website allows interactive dialogues and social media engagement to share ideas on volunteerism. Photos of volunteering experiences are being collected from all over the world to ponder on why volunteering matters. Its slogan reads: “Help us showcase the power of volunteer action in every country.”
Click here to access the detailed contents of the campaign.