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Support to the United Nations International Year for Volunteers 2001
07 April 2001

Support to the United Nations International Year for Volunteers 2001

Resolution adopted without a vote by the IPU Council at its 168th session (Havana, 7 April 2001)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Welcoming the proclamation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2001 as International Year for Volunteers (resolution 52/17 of 20 November 1997),

Having in mind the report of the Twenty-Fourth Special Session of the UN General Assembly entitled "World Summit for Social Development and Beyond: Achieving Social Development in a Globalising World",

Having in mind also the recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Improving the Status and Role of Volunteers (1496/2001),

Considering that voluntary action - which assumes a great variety of organizational forms depending on the context, cultural norms, values and beliefs - is deeply embedded in every society and contributes significantly in a multiplicity of ways to promoting social cohesion, poverty reduction and sustainable development, democracy and good governance,

Noting, in the context of the International Year for Volunteers, that 10 December 2001 will mark the centenary of the award of the first Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Frédéric Passy, a leader of the peace movement at the time and co-founder of the IPU, and Mr. Henry Dunant, the founder of a major volunteer movement in the world, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,

Urges Parliaments and their members around the world:

(i) To mark the centenary of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. F. Passy and Mr. H. Dunant by redoubled work in pursuit of peace and humanitarian values;

(ii) To hold consultations with major organizations concerned with volunteerism in their countries, including through parliamentary hearings, with a view to identifying policies which might be adopted to encourage volunteerism and to establish a legislative framework supportive of voluntary action from a good governance perspective;

(iii) To encourage governments to highlight the contribution of voluntary action in global events such as "Istanbul+5", the World Summit for Children, the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and the World Assembly on Ageing;

(iv) To contribute through appropriate channels to the report of the UN Secretary-General on ways that governments and the UN system could support volunteering to be discussed on 5 December 2001 at the Fifty-sixth Session of the UN General Assembly;

(v) To associate themselves, in whatever meaningful manner they deem fit, with the celebration of the International Year for Volunteers 2001 in their country;

(vi) To support the United Nations Volunteers and its activities and to encourage their governments to draw upon their services whenever appropriate;

Requests the Secretary General to collect from national parliaments, in consultation with the above mentioned organizations, data on action taken at the national level to give effect to this resolution and on existing legislation in the field; and to report to the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union by its first session in 2002;

Further requests the Secretary General to explore with the Executive Coordinator of UNV avenues and mechanisms of cooperation in the context of efforts to promote democracy and good governance, especially through technical assistance to national parliaments.