10 November 2004
The first in a series of seminars on volunteerism and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was held in Pakistan’s capital city on Saturday, 6 November.
More than 200 students at Quaid-i-Azam University listened to talks on the role of volunteers in achieving the MDGs presented by Dr. Nazim Ashraf, Pakistan’s Minister of State, and Onder Yucer, the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan.
In his address, Dr. Ashraf recognized volunteerism as one of the most powerful elements in the development process and urged students to volunteer their skills and knowledge at the community level, especially in rural Pakistan. He identified illiteracy as one issue that must be addressed and asked students to take part in educational activities.
Citing global examples of volunteer contributions to the MDGs, Onder Yucer told the students that the participation of citizens is an essential element in achieving the goals. He stressed that the MDGs cannot be attained if people from all walks of life do not take part.
Additional seminars will be held in the coming weeks as a lead-up to the three-day International Conference on Volunteerism and the MDGs hosted by Pakistan, which will be launched by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on 5 December, International Volunteer Day. The Government of Pakistan will also use the occasion to launch its first report on its efforts to meet the MDGs.
Organized by Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Pakistan and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
The conference will focus on the necessary actions needed to further volunteer contributions to each of the eight MDGs. The results of the conference are anticipated to serve as inputs to the UN Secretary General’s report to the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2005 on progress towards meeting the challenge of the Millennium Declaration, the framework of the MDGs.