02 September 2004
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed proposals to streamline the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme , which seeks to mobilize people worldwide, working towards peace and development in areas such as agriculture, education, health and support to human rights and electoral processes.
In a note to the General Assembly, Mr. Annan generally endorses as "balanced and constructive" a report by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) that evaluated UNV and recommended improvements to ensure the most efficient use of resources.
He also notes that the JIU concluded that the programme had proven to be dynamic and quick to respond to changing and expanding demands.
The report's proposals to UNV included focusing on a limited number of high priority activities and trying to achieve a balance between current activities and new initiatives and projects.
It also calls for management to continue improving the representation of volunteers from under-represented countries as well as women and youth.
Created the General Assembly in 1970 to serve as an operational partner in development cooperation at the request of member states, UNV encourages people to become active in volunteering in their countries and is administered by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), working through UNDP offices around the world.
Some 5,000 qualified and experienced women and men of nearly 160 nationalities serve each year in developing countries. Since 1971, 30,000 UN Volunteers have worked in about 140 countries. Currently, nearly 70 per cent are citizens of developing states while the remaining 30 per cent come from the industrialized world.
They work in technical cooperation with governments, with community-based initiatives, in humanitarian relief and rehabilitation and in support of human rights, electoral and peace-building processes.