From working in their own communities on climate change adaptation and poverty reduction to supporting global causes of peace, justice and development, the millions of volunteers around the world play a vital role in building a better future, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“Together, let us strengthen the institutional frameworks that support volunteerism,” he added, citing the strong growth in recent years of online volunteering connecting people – professionals, students, homemakers and people with disabilities around the globe – and providing them with opportunities to contribute to development and the work of the United Nations.
“Still relatively new, online volunteering has great potential and I encourage all partners to explore what more can be done to harness the power of the Internet in this way,” he said in a message marking the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development.
The General Assembly called for the establishment of the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme 40 years ago, and since then tens of thousands of UN volunteers have contributed to the world body’s global mission, from peacekeeping and special political missions to humanitarian aid and development.
“It [volunteerism] is a powerful means of mobilizing all segments of society as active partners in building a better world,” Mr. Ban declared. “Let us honour volunteering as an expression of our common humanity and a way to promote mutual respect, solidarity and reciprocity.”