United Nations Volunteers
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2011)|
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program is a United Nations organization that advocates the role and benefits of volunteerism for development, integrates volunteers into development programmes, and mobilises volunteers for development projects. It was created to be a development partner for UN organisations by providing volunteers into their development programmes. UN Volunteers help to organize and run local and national elections and support a large number of peacekeeping and humanitarian projects. UN Volunteers comprise one third of all international civilians working in UN peacekeeping operations.
UNV was established by the UN General Assembly and is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its headquarters are in Bonn, Germany. UNV has liaison offices in Tokyo and New York City.
UNV directly mobilizes more than 7,500 people as "UN Volunteers" every year and, since starting operations in 1971, UNV has engaged more than 50,000 UN Volunteers to work onsite on a wide range of projects in developing countries. The UNV roster of candidates contains the details of more than 70,000 professionals seeking assignments. Candidates are recruited from both developed and developing countries. More than 75 percent of placed UN Volunteers come from developing countries, and more than 30 percent volunteer within their own countries (national UN Volunteers). UN Volunteers receive a Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA), a financial allowance intended to cover basic living expenses each month. The minimum age for UN Volunteers is 25 years. The average age is 37 years, with 5–10 years of work experience. UN Volunteers comprise 30 per cent of all international civilians engaged in UN peacekeeping missions.
In addition, UNV operates the Online Volunteering Service, a web-based platform for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or other civil society organizations, governments or other public institutions, United Nations agencies or other intergovernmental institution to involve online volunteers in various projects. The service was launched in 2000 as a part of NetAid, which hosted and co-managed the service until 2005. Currently, 74 percent of development organizations using the Online Volunteering service are civil society organizations, 23 percent United Nations organizations and 3 percent government institutions. In 2012, all 16,196 online volunteering assignments offered by development organizations through the Online Volunteering service attracted applications from numerous qualified volunteers. About 59 percent of the 11,037 online volunteers were women, and 62 percent came from developing countries. On average, they were 30 years of age. More than 92 percent of organizations and online volunteers rated their collaboration as good or excellent in 2012. These volunteers are not UN Volunteers, meaning they do not receive a contract from UNV as such, and do not receive a VLA.
UNV also operates the World Volunteer Web, a web site to promote volunteerism globally. The site was originally created to support the International Year of Volunteers in 2001. UNV was the focal point for IYV 2001, and also for the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers marked in 2011.
UNV celebrates International Volunteer Day on 5 December every year.
State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2011 Universal Values for Global Well-being
The first State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme was launched at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States, on 5 December 2011 and about 80 countries around the world.
The SWVR promotes a better understanding of volunteerism. It demonstrates the universality, scope and reach of volunteerism along with new trends in the twenty-first century. The report examines important contributions in diverse fields such as sustainable livelihoods, social inclusion, social cohesion and disaster risk reduction. By suggesting how volunteerism can be taken forward, the SWVR also provides an alternative vision of a better society.
The State of the World’s Volunteerism Report shows that, in most societies around the world, volunteers make significant contributions to economic and social development. Through their voluntary actions, millions of people are contributing to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).