17 November 2005
Pakistani volunteers remove debris to recover a dead body from a building collapsed by massive earthquake on 8 October that killed about 80,000 in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. President General Pervez Musharraf launched a nationwide volunteer drive on 1 November to help quake victims, days ahead of an international conference aimed at filling huge funding shortfalls for the disaster. (From Anjum Naveed/AP Photo)Islamabad/Bonn:
The United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers
(UNV) programme are committed to supporting Pakistan in implementing its National Volunteer Movement (NVM), an initiative launched on 1 November to respond to the massive relief and reconstruction effort in quake-devastated areas of Pakistan.
The UNDP Country Director in Pakistan, Mr. Haoliang Xu, pledged UNDP and UNV support at a joint stakeholder meeting in the Pakistani capital on Tuesday.
At the event, the Pakistan Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chairman of the NVM, Mr. Mohammad Ali Durrani, shared details on the volunteer movement that included the provision of training to volunteers and the establishment of a database for facilitating volunteer registration.
Mr. Durrani said tens of thousands of volunteers are to be mobilized to work alongside the country’s military in addressing victims’ immediate needs, as well as to assist in the reconstruction phase. He added the volunteer movement would work to enhance cooperation and communication between the volunteers, NGOs and donors active in the quake-hit areas. In addition, the NVM is seeking to increase collaboration between other volunteer-involving organizations and civil society.
Pakistan’s initiative reflects a recommendation stemming from the Hyogo Declaration of this year’s World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Japan that encouraged the set up of national volunteer infrastructure to support disaster reduction through enhanced preparedness.
In the lead up to the launch of the NVM, UNV shared its expertise in establishing volunteer infrastructure in other disaster affected countries. UNV is also working to introduce into Pakistan a national UN Volunteer scheme that will complement the NVM by mobilizing Pakistani nationals with specific skills and experience in disaster relief and rehabilitation. They will play an important role in training local volunteers in such areas as disaster relief coordination and management. Mixed teams of Pakistani and international UN Volunteers will also be placed within the NVM to assist in getting operations off the ground.
These important developments in support of voluntary action in Pakistan follow a series of events and initiatives aimed at strengthening the role of volunteerism in the country. In December 2004, Pakistan hosted the International Conference on Volunteerism and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), organized by Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and UNV.