International Volunteer Day - Statement by the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark

Dec 5, 2016

On December 5th we celebrate International Volunteer Day in recognition of the enormous contributions made by volunteers to sustainable development and peace around the world.

At UNDP, we greatly appreciate the power of volunteerism as a catalyst for change and building a better future for people and our planet.

Volunteering is a truly inclusive endeavor, with people from all walks of life getting involved. This year alone, UNDP collaborated with 4,200 UN Volunteers, on more than 600 projects. 82 per cent of UN Volunteers (UNVs) are from the Global South.

As we share the stories of United Nations Volunteers, it is our hope that their testimonies will inspire even more people to step forward and volunteer. You can learn more about the meaningful work being done by UN Volunteers by following #GlobalApplause on Twitter.

Together, UNDP and UNV can effect real change. In Tajikistan, for example, UN Volunteers are working alongside UNDP on an ‘Aid for Trade’ project to support small-and medium-sized businesses. The project supports entrepreneurs through job creation and enhancing their capacity to export.

In Vietnam, we are working alongside UNV, UNFPA and UN Women on the ‘Partners for Prevention’ programme – P4P. This programme empowers men to advocate for the safety and protection of women and girls in their communities, and hosts male advocacy clubs to tackle those community values, behaviours, and beliefs which can lead to gender-based violence.

In Burundi, we are working together to foster and encourage social cohesion amongst young people affected by conflict. Over 100 volunteers are currently undertaking activities to increase civic participation, sustain peace, and ensure meaningful connections are built within the community.

These are just a few examples of the work being done by UNDP in collaboration with UNV. On this International Volunteer Day, I thank all those who step forward to volunteer and make a difference to our world. My deepest respect and gratitude goes to the more than 6,700 UN Volunteers in the field, the 12,000 UNV Online Volunteers, and the one billion community volunteers around the world. Today, we celebrate you.

State of the World Volunteerism Report, 2015

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