30 August 2005
There is a need to sustain and extend the awareness raised during the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001 in order to encourage all countries to involve volunteers in Millennium Development Goals (MDG) activities, says the report of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General on follow-up to the implementation of IYV.
The report has been released in six UN working languages and the General Assembly will consider the report’s findings and recommendations in its 60th session in September 2005.
The report highlights the major areas where, building on the achievements of IYV, the environment for expanding and diversifying levels of volunteerism can be strengthened. It concludes that while the momentum built up over IYV continues to provide the stimulation behind a vibrant volunteer movement, there are wide variations in trends between countries and regions.
For example, in the least developed regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, where countries are experiencing extreme poverty and profound political and social changes, volunteerism is not high on the governments’ agenda. However, there is a trend in formalizing the position and role of volunteers in some countries within these regions.
This disparity amongst regions and countries needs to be addressed to realize the full potential of volunteerism to meet today’s global challenges, as expressed through the Millennium Development Goals, the report says.
It also recommends to expand research on volunteer-related issues in developing countries where such information is missing due to lack of basic information on the different forms volunteerism takes, the impact of cultural, economic and social perspectives and nature of barriers to taking part in voluntary action.
There is also a need, adds the report, to sustain and extend the awareness raised during IYV on the role and contribution of voluntary action in development in order to encourage all countries to involve volunteers in MDG activities.