Ban spotlights role of volunteers in protecting the planet on International Day

5 December 2009

Marking International Volunteer Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the key role that volunteers around the world play in protecting the planet, as world leaders prepare to gather at the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, set to kick off next week.

“The decisions and actions of individuals may seem insignificant in the face of global messages,” he said in a message for the Day. “But when people choose to devote their time and energy, they can, together, make a difference.”

Mr. Ban pointed to the recent “Seal the Deal” and “Volunteering for our Planet” campaigns as examples of how volunteers are shaping the world.

“Volunteerism is a source of community strength, resilience, solidarity and social cohesion,” he said, ranking it “among society's most vital assets.”

The Secretary-General thanked volunteers worldwide, in particular the 8,000 UN Volunteers (UNV), who give their time to guard the environment and further the causes of peace and development.

He also recognized the two UNV volunteers who were killed in Afghanistan in October, as well as to all those who have lost their lives volunteering for the UN. “Their service and dedication to the United Nations will not be forgotten.”


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