Volunteerism can boost efforts to achieve global development targets – Annan

23 August 2005

Volunteerism is increasingly being seen as aiding the progress of societies towards fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report to the General Assembly.

Volunteerism is increasingly being seen as aiding the progress of societies towards fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report to the General Assembly.

“Volunteerism, when properly channelled, is a powerful force for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Mr. Annan says referring to the globally agreed targets tackling a host of socio-economic ills.

The report, which deals with the follow-up to the International Year of Volunteers in 2001, says and that most of the General Assembly’s recommendations to promote and support volunteerism are being implemented by Governments, the UN system, civil society and the private sector.

Preparations for the International Year were at an advanced stage when UN Member States adopted the Millennium Declaration in September 2000, therefore the context provided by the MDGs was not made explicit in the International Year’s objectives or planning, the report says.

“Nonetheless, in the implementation of and follow-up to the Year, there has been a growing acceptance of the notion of linking volunteerism to addressing the aspirations of the Millennium Declaration,” it says.

“Indeed, it is barely conceivable that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved without the efforts, creativity and solidarity of many millions of ordinary citizens through voluntary action,” it adds.

Measuring the level of volunteering is still largely limited to a number of industrialized

countries, but steps are now being taken in a few developing countries to produce statistics, the report says.

“The picture is mixed,” it says.

In some countries, natural disasters and high-profile sports events have encouraged more people to become involved in volunteering. In other countries, the UN itself has kept volunteering high on the development agenda, while the HIV/AIDS pandemic has catalyzed communities to volunteer support for victims and their families, the report says.

“On the other hand, there are also signs that in some countries the lack of promotion of volunteerism by the Government and disinterest on the part of the media and other potential stakeholders have conspired to limit the expansion of the volunteer base,” it says.

 

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