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UNV staff walk the talk for ‘Seal the Deal’
26 October 2009

UNV staff engage with the Bonn public to raise awareness about climate change and ‘Volunteering for our Planet’. (T. Matraia/UNV)UNV staff engage with the Bonn public to raise awareness about climate change and ‘Volunteering for our Planet’. (T. Matraia/UNV)UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri (left) speaks about ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ and ‘Seal the Deal’, joined by the Mayor of Bonn (right) and local children. (T. Matraia/UNV)UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri (left) speaks about ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ and ‘Seal the Deal’, joined by the Mayor of Bonn (right) and local children. (T. Matraia/UNV)Even the ‘Maus’ from German children’s television came to sign the ‘Seal the Deal’ petition. (T. Matraia/UNV)Even the ‘Maus’ from German children’s television came to sign the ‘Seal the Deal’ petition. (T. Matraia/UNV)
Bonn, Germany: UNV staff took ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ to the public last weekend, marking the 64th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The staff volunteers collected more than 500 signatures calling for action against global warming.

Thousands of citizens visited Bonn centre on United Nations Day, 24 October, to learn more about the 19 United Nations organizations with a presence in the city. During the Day, UNV staff presented the work it does through its projects and partnerships in 132 countries, and ran a stand to inform people about climate change.

UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri braved the rain and spoke to the public from the special event stage. After thanking the city of Bonn and congratulating the newly-elected Mayor of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch, on his appointment, she discussed the importance of biological diversity and the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

“Climate change affects us all,” said Ms. Pansieri. “Nine out of every ten disasters recorded are now climate related.” She introduced the UN’s ‘Seal the Deal’ campaign, which aims to galvanize political will and public support for reaching a comprehensive global climate agreement.

She talked in detail on ‘Volunteering for our Planet’, the UNV contribution to ‘Seal the Deal’. International Volunteer Day on 5 December 2009 falls just 48 hours before the start of the Copenhagen conference, and UNV personnel and concerned people across the globe will be taking voluntary action to mitigate environmental issues.

The ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ campaign is accompanied by a website where people can register and pledge the number of hours they spend on voluntary action for the environment. These hours will be collected as a message to the delegates at Copenhagen. “Every individual action counts!” emphasized Ms. Pansieri.

“I encourage us all to work together, to find solutions for communities to adapt to climate change, to encourage innovation, and to help mitigate the impact of our lifestyles on our climate, for the sake of future generations,” she added.

The UN day public event was preceded by a formal gathering at Bonn’s historic town hall on 23 October, during which Ms. Pansieri presented the ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ and ‘Seal the Deal’ campaigns. She and the newly-elected Mayor of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch, took the opportunity to publicly stamp and sign the ‘Seal the Deal’ petition.

UNV was the first UN agency to arrive in Bonn, moving there from Geneva in 1996. Initially located in the Haus Carstanjen complex, UNV subsequently set up in the former German Parliament office building known as ‘Langer Eugen’ in 2006.

See more photographs here: picasaweb.google.com/volunteeringPlanet