More than 120 countries – two-thirds worldwide – have laws and policies to create a conducive environment for volunteering. I know that such governmental activities are not typically on the minds of the millions of volunteers who lend a hand to people in need. Many of you may volunteer simply for altruistic reasons and the personal satisfaction of giving back to your community.
While much volunteering is local, it is a global necessity and is increasingly recognized as such. Volunteer representatives now have a “seat at the table” where policy decisions are made and a voice in addressing systemic issues.
As a result, United Nations Resolution 75/233, adopted just last year and which guides the UN’s development system, recognizes that “volunteerism can be a powerful and cross-cutting” way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encourages the UN “in partnership with Member States, civil society and the private sector, to support such efforts and promote the conducive environment for volunteerism and volunteers.”
Why have the UN and member states been paying attention to the role of volunteers? According to UN Volunteers, it’s because they are essential to eradicating poverty and achieving the other 16 SDGs and because volunteering strengthens inclusion, especially the voices of marginalized or hard-to-reach people. Plus, through the tireless efforts of volunteers, we improve struggling families’ health, education and financial security – the building blocks of a good life.
So while policies are driven by governments and global organizations, individuals also must do their part to make sure volunteer voices are valued and heard. On December 5th International Volunteer Day (IVD) is celebrated to recognize and encourage the spirit of volunteering and how volunteering makes a difference in sustainable development.
UN Volunteers has made it easy to get involved and spread this year’s IVD theme, “Volunteer Now for Our Common Future.” You can:
- Share any of these social media cards to help acknowledge the contributions of volunteers.
- Show on social media how you are volunteering for inclusion and the SDGs like climate action or improved education and healthcare
- Nominate another person to also “volunteer now for our common future” by tagging them with the hashtags #passiton #volunteernow #IVD2021.
Communities have always understood the value of volunteers.Now the world does too.