By Joan Akello
There are 7,700 United Nations Volunteers (UNV) worldwide. Today they are celebrating their efforts to prevent conflicts, help societies recover from fighting and promote sustainable development,
Volunteering embraces all people, from activist who work full-time and the occasional citizen. Volunteers aim at showing compassion, sharing their skills with community-based development projects – including the delivery of basic services, health care, crisis prevention and recovery, environment and climate change, education, and social inclusion projects.
UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon‘s statement to mark the day said, “I applaud all people who volunteer each year to assist in crisis situations and carry out numerous other projects for the greater good. “
He added that their volunteers have advanced the Millennium Development Goals, and confident that they will also contribute to progress on the post-2015 development agenda.
“By giving their time and skills without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose. On this Day, let us renew our determination to offer strength and inspiration to others through volunteerism.
In her last year as UNV executive coordinator, Flavia Pansieri, says,”This experience creates a transformational relationship which can strengthen a community’s physical, economic, spiritual and social well-being. It helps to build an active and healthy civil society, critical to a peace that is durable and development that is sustainable.”
The values of volunteerism – solidarity, reciprocity, mutual trust and belonging are universal and transcend the boundaries of culture, language and geography.
“I have seen how tens of thousands of UN Volunteers who support UN Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Missions bring stability to societies damaged by violence,” Pansieri said.
This year at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, volunteers reaffirmed their commitment to development that does not compromise the needs of future generations.