Sudan

Sudan to host symposium on volunteers and the MDGs

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KHARTOUM, 22 July 2005 - Increasing the recognition of and support to volunteers and volunteer involving organizations in helping Sudan meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the theme of a one-day conference to be held in the capital city on 25 July.

Organized by Sudan's Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the V Forum - a collective of MDG-focussed volunteer involving organizations in Sudan - and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the National Symposium will work towards strengthening partnerships among the government, international and national development organizations and volunteer involving organizations to better coordinate MDG activities in the country. Eradicating extreme poverty (MDG 1) and developing a global partnership for development (MDG 8) are areas where the Sudanese Government is emphasizing the role of volunteers in supporting national efforts to realize its commitments to the MDGs.

Bridging peace and development initiatives is also on the symposium's agenda in light of the advancements brought forward since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in early January 2005 by the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army. Emphasis will be placed on building links between volunteers and volunteer involving organizations in the North and South of the country.

In recent months, the Government of Sudan has been active in creating opportunities for and raising awareness of volunteers in the promotion of peace. Last month, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declared 11 June as National Volunteer Day and launched a Volunteer Pool project. At the event, the president registered as Sudan's first volunteer for peace and development.

Several hundred participants are expected at the symposium, including representatives from across Sudan. UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad, accompanied by a delegation from UNV headquarters, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in Sudan, Jan Pronk, will address participants at the event.

The National Symposium in Sudan is the second such conference to be held globally on the role of volunteers in supporting the MDGs. The first conference was held in December 2004 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

UNV is the UN organization that supports the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers. To this end, UNV provides the opportunity each year for more than 7,000 women and men - 75 per cent coming from developing countries - to support peace, relief and development initiatives in some 140 countries. In addition, it engages thousands of other individuals in the work of the United Nations through www.onlinevolunteering.org, and manages the WorldVolunteerWeb.org, a portal that serves as a knowledge resource base on volunteerism worldwide.

For more information, contact

Ganiyu Ipaye, UNV Programme Officer in Sudan;
Tel: + 249 (0) 91 217 0546; Email: ganiyu.ipaye@undp.org

Edward Mishaud, UNV Communications Officer;
Tel: + 49 (0) 228 815 2223; Email: edward.mishaud@unvolunteers.org