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Sudan to host symposium on volunteers and the MDGs
22 July 2005

Khartoum, Sudan: Sudan is hosting a national symposium on the role of volunteers in helping achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 25 July in the capital Khartoum.

Organized by Sudan’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the V Forum – a collective of MDG-focussed volunteer-involving organizations – and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the event will work towards strengthening partnerships among government, international and national development organizations and volunteer-involving organizations to better coordinate MDG activities in the country.

The Sudanese government emphasizes the role of volunteers in supporting national efforts to realize its MDG commitments. Specifically for the symposium, the government will focus on volunteers’ role in eradicating extreme poverty (MDG 1) and developing a global partnership for development (MDG 8).

Also on the symposium’s agenda are bridging peace and development initiatives in light of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in early January 2005 between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. Emphasis will be placed on building links amongst volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations across the country.

Lately, the Government of Sudan has been active in creating opportunities for and raising awareness of volunteers in promoting peace. Last month, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declared 11 June as National Volunteer Day and launched the Volunteer Pool project. During the event, the president registered as Sudan’s first volunteer for peace and development.

Several hundred participants are expected at the symposium, including UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad, accompanied by a delegation from UNV headquarters, and Jan Pronk, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in Sudan.

The National Symposium in Sudan is the second such conference to be held globally on the role of volunteers in supporting the MDGs. The first conference was held in December 2004 in Islamabad, Pakistan.