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Saturday, November 28, 2020
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 4 2015 (IPS) - “On this day, we celebrate the power of volunteerism,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement ahead of International Volunteer Day (IVD).
Held annually on Dec 5, IVD brings together people from around the world to promote and commemorate volunteerism.
IVD 2015, whose theme is “The world is changing. Are You? Volunteer!”, not only recognizes the achievements of volunteers, but also highlights the necessary participation of all to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims to “leave no one behind.”
“IVD 2015 challenges each and every one of us to be part of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme Richard Dictus told IPS.
“Volunteers create spaces for people to engage, acquire voice and contribute to saving the planet and humankind,” he continued.
Ban echoed similar sentiments in a synthesis report on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, stating that volunteerism can be a powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation of the new agenda.
“Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies and to engage people in national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals,” he added.
The UN Chief has especially underscored the role of youth in achieving the SDGs. This is reflected in the Global Citizen Festival, a music festival held every year since 2012 in New York, which raises awareness and promotes action among young people on key global issues.
“Stand up for justice. Stand up for dignity. Stand up for a better world. Take your passion and compassion – and let’s make the global goals a global reality,” Ban told the 60,000 festival-goers in September 2015.
Following a report on volunteerism by the Secretary-General and UNV’s State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2015, on 26 Nov, the 70th Session of the General Assembly adopted a resolution integrating volunteerism in the 2030 agenda.
On the significance of volunteering and IVD 2015, Marina Bykova from Russia told IPS: “Volunteering is about solidarity, compassion, coming together and celebrating our unity in diversity.” However, she noted that volunteer work can go unnoticed. “IVD is a reminder that we are not alone in our efforts,” she remarked.
For IVD 2015, volunteers will partake in a range of activities to assist underprivileged communities and raise awareness of the SDGs in every corner of the globe.
For instance, in Kenya, participants will plant over 500 trees and introduce 300 ambassadors who aim to build a national volunteer campaign platform to mobilize action for the SDGs.
Meanwhile, in Romania, volunteers will organize education and health workshops for young Roma people on dental care and mental health.
“Volunteerism is a global phenomenon that transcends boundaries, religions and cultural divides,” Ban said in a statement marking IVD 2015.
“As we mark International Volunteer Day, let us strive to make the most of the power of volunteerism to build a more sustainable world and a life of dignity for all,” he concluded.
IVD was established in 1985 by the General Assembly to celebrate volunteers’ efforts and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), UN agencies, government officials, and the private sector.
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