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UN Report urges policy makers to ‘Build Forward Better’ together with volunteers

The report draws on case study research in Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

ByJose Kalathil

Updated 28 Mar 2022, 2:02 pm

(PHOTO: Twitter)
(PHOTO: Twitter)

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The fourth State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) ‘Building equal and inclusive societies,’ unveiled on Monday at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, presents new evidence on volunteer–state partnerships.

The SWVR was the highlight of the 50th Anniversary of UNV celebrated at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on  December 2, 2021.

The report reveals that cooperation between volunteers and governments helps build collaborative decision-making.

Increasing inequalities worldwide call for a new type of social contract with a renewed emphasis on inclusion. It is time for a global reset. The UN (United Nations) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has spelt out the need for a New Social Contract that creates equal opportunities and respects the rights and freedoms of all.

Every seventh person in the world is a volunteer. Despite the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, global interest in volunteering has not waned, and volunteering in communities has endured despite limited mobility and resources. While restrictions have prevented many people from volunteering in person, many have switched to volunteering online.

The report draws on case study research in Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and concludes that, the monthly number of volunteers aged 15 years and older amounts to over 850 million worldwide. And the average monthly volunteer rate – defined as the share of working-age persons (15 years or older) that volunteer in a month – amounts to almost 15 per cent.

Globally there are an estimated 862 million people who volunteer every month. Asia and the Pacific, with over 563 million people and Europe and Central Asia with more than 81 million people volunteering every month to other regions.

‘This is a huge resource that can drive development and advance human progress including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ says Kyoko Yokosuka, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator.

Volunteerism is a collective action undertaken to improve society and civic life. It includes voluntary service in local communities as well as participation in government decision-making.

This research comes at a crucial moment as countries start to build forward from the pandemic and institutions need to engage volunteers as key partners.

Kyoko underlined that: ‘As some countries start to build forward better from the pandemic, governments and other stakeholders need to work even more closely with volunteers, engaging with them as key partners and opening the space for them to collaborate on vital development solutions.’

‘Join us in the launch of this Report by recognising the potential of the voice and actions of volunteers as part of the sustainable future of all people and the planet,’ she called.

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First published:28 Mar 2022, 2:02 pm

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UNSWVRState of the World’s Volunteerism Reportvolunteering

Jose Kalathil

Jose Kalathil

Jose Kalathil is s senior journalist and can be contacted at kalathil.jose@gmail.com

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