First-ever State of the World's Volunteerism Report launched

05 Dec 2011

(Suva, Fiji) – The contribution and impact of millions of volunteers around the globe has been acknowledged in the first-ever State of the World’s Volunteerism Report launched today on the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteerism.

The Report commissioned by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV – the UN agency dedicated to facilitate voluntarism nationally and globally) was launched today by the UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Knut Ostby, and the UNV Programme Officer Lioba van Dam (UNV).

The Report argues that volunteerism is more than a tool for development. Its underlying values like solidarity, sharing of knowledge and providing tools to improve the cohesion of societies is heavily underestimated and should have a place in the new development agenda. 

The Report captures the value of solidarity and deepens the understanding of the impact that volunteerism can have on our lives and the impact already has made globally to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) before 2015,” Mr Ostby said. 

“As a result of voluntarism, communities become more resilience; they seem to become more capable to face natural or human made disasters. Children do better at school. The social fabric determines whether people live in relative wellbeing, connectedness and with a sense of cooperation at the community level.”

“People-centred approaches and partnership are key in delivering on the sustainable development agenda. Volunteers, as part of the society that has the desire to develop itself, are facilitators in this process. They have the wisdom to steer and to lead the required improvement. We therefore need to honour and support them” Ms Lioba said.

In Fiji, there are many organizations and communities who rely on volunteers. The UN currently has 25 volunteers across the Pacific particularly in the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru and the Solomon Islands mobilizing hundreds more.

“I congratulate the UN Volunteers programme and commend the many millions of volunteers working for sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, environmental preservation, and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,” Mr Ostby said.

The Report is being shared to remind policy makers, civil society leaders and individuals that community and national development will not depend only on politicians performing well, and the support of ordinary people is pivotal. 

Contact Information

Lioba VanDam on (679) 3312 500 or lioba.vandam@undp.org.