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Volunteerism: a driving force for development in Armenia
27 January 2010

Yerevan, Armenia: The Armenian authorities, UN representatives and civil society activists discussed the social and economic importance of volunteerism for development during a round table discussion which honoured International Volunteer Day, marked on 5 December.

During the event, the findings of the survey “Measuring economic contribution of volunteerism in Armenia” were discussed, and information about developments of the National United Nations Volunteer Scheme was distributed. The National Volunteer Involving Organizations’ network presented its recommendations aimed to improve draft legislation on volunteerism.

Welcoming the participants at the round table, Mr. Dirk Boberg, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. said: “The main objective of this roundtable is to disclose and discuss the economic value of volunteerism in Armenia. The UN system values volunteerism as a driving force for development and has instituted the UNV programme to support sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers.” He paid a special tribute to the two UNV volunteers who lost their lives in the attack on a UN guest house in Afghanistan in October.
 
Mr. Mkhitar Mnatsakanyan, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs said: “Volunteerism can be a basis for development both at the individual and social levels. It gives an opportunity to people to promote human development. Volunteerism also encourages people to become more active members of their communities.”

In addition, on 5 December, the volunteers from Armenian civil society organizations will get together to clean the Tsitsernakaberd Park and its surroundings and to decorate a Christmas tree for persons with disabilities.

This year activities have been dedicated to 'Volunteering for our Planet' in view of the upcoming Conference on Climate Change which will take place in Copenhagen next week.

Flavia Pansieri, UN Volunteers Executive Coordinator, said: “Across the world, people volunteer to protect our planet in many ways, from cleaning up their neighbourhoods and organizing recycling schemes, to campaigning for renewable forms of energy. Being an environmental volunteer can support many goals, including conserving biodiversity, addressing desertification and deforestation, reducing waste and pollution, improving water quality and sanitation, and sharing information to educate others”.

These activities are in line with other similar events taking place worldwide to recognize and value volunteerism.