UNV – 5th December, 2018: Today, the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme launched a flagship report demonstrating how local volunteers across the region are strengthening their communities. The 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) was released in Harare, Zimbabwe. UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator, Mr. Toily Kurbanov launched the report and led a high-level panel of representatives from the Government of Zimbabwe, the HigherLife Foundation, VSO Zimbabwe, and civil society.
Volunteering is increasingly recognized as a significant resource for overcoming development challenges. Empirical data can document the contributions of volunteers, set benchmarks for evaluation, uncover important trends, and encourage policies that help promote volunteering. Today, UNV publishes a background paper as part of the 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report project, that assesses the state of measurement of volunteering, and provides new estimations of the scale and scope of volunteering globally.
Local volunteering is the thread that binds communities and makes them strong
In a fragile and turbulent world, volunteers are active in every major shock and stress situation experienced by communities – from earthquakes and flooding to climate change and local conflicts. Often working behind the scenes, they are the thread that binds communities together, finds the latest State of the World's Volunteerism Report 2018, published by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
May 29 marks the 70th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping, which remains as relevant today as ever. Nearly 90,000 troops and police, joined by over 14,000 civilians – including UN Volunteers – serve in 14 peacekeeping operations. Together, they make a tangible difference every day in the lives of hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.
This year, the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is commemorated under the theme “UN Peacekeeping: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice”.
We, UN and non-UN entities, re-affirm our determination to prevent future acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by our personnel.
We note the issuance of this Statement at the High-level Conference on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and NGO Personnel on 4 December 2006 in New York, USA and welcome future endorsement of this Statement by others.
UN Volunteers in Sudan, in collaboration with UNDP Sudan, other UN agencies and International Youth Forum celebrated International Youth Day in Khartoum, under the theme ‘Youth4Peace'. The celebrations, which took place with the participation of the Federal Minister of Youth and Sports, government officials, civil society representatives and community advocates, hosted two forums, one on public policy and another on the role of youth in peacebuilding.
As the Syria crisis enters its seventh year, 13.5 million people require humanitarian assistance. 375 UN Volunteers are currently serving in countries neighbouring Syria, mostly as part of the response to the refugee crisis. These UN Volunteers are teachers, monitors of cross-border operations, enumerators; they serve in refugee camps and in public offices, they provide livelihood opportunities, protection, medical and other social services. Some of them are refugees themselves, some are youth, many are women.
The reality of the escalating famine lingers among some of the world’s most vulnerable groups of people in Eastern Africa, and beyond. Having already endured the effects of civil war, poverty, and terrorism, the intensifying need for humanitarian assistance continues to increase throughout Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and northern Nigeria.
Toily Kurbanov, Deputy Executive Coordinator for Management Support: Last month, I had the privileged to visit Damascus. I saw a city where mortar shells can be felt shaking window frames; yet also where Mothers rush their children to school in the morning and hawkers peddle their goods through the streets.
Representatives from over 70 countries and international organisations, international and Syrian civil society, met in Brussels to discuss peace and reconstruction in Syria. The conference agreed on a comprehensive approach to the Syrian crisis. It underlined the need to continue to respond to the dire humanitarian situation by ensuring principled assistance and protection for those populations in need and support to the neighbouring countries.
UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator Toily Kurbanov participated in the Helsinki Conference on Supporting Syrians and the Region. He offered valuable lessons learned for the post-agreement reconstruction of Syria, focusing on how local volunteers are the first to reach the most vulnerable in the wake of crisis and the role of UN Volunteers in building locally-owned development. The full transcript of his remarks is below.
Five international UN Volunteers currently serve with UNMM in Gaziantep, Turkey, working closely with local customs officials to conduct visual and physical inspections of United Nations cargos going into Syria. Since cross-border operations started in July 2014, aid materials sent by UN organizations arrive at UN bases in Turkey, where materials are moved from Turkish international road transports (TIRs) to Syrian TIRs.
UNV has had a longstanding presence in Syria and has maintained its representation in Damascus, although it has had to halt the deployment of UN Volunteers to the country for security reasons. Instead, UNV has focused its response on supporting a marginalized segment of refugees who fled the conflict: Palestinian refugees, now twice displaced from Syria to Lebanon.
The earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 with multiple aftershocks brought about widespread destruction across the country and resulted in 8,790 deaths, 22,300 injuries and 755,549 houses that were either damaged or completely destroyed. In response to the catastrophe, UN volunteers were mobilized and deployed in partnership with UNDP to deliver important services in the districts of Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, Nuwakot, Chitwan and in Kathmandu.
‘Women, Peace and Volunteerism: Partnerships for Sustaining Peace’, a side event organized by UNV, PBSO and UN Women at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN, celebrated a partnership between the three organizations in the framework of the Peacebuilding Fund’s Gender Promotion Initiative, and highlighted the work carried out in gender-responsive peacebuilding by UN Volunteers from different countries and regions.
Geneva, Switzerland: More than 2,500 UN Volunteers, half of them women, have supported the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in delivering on its mandate in 95 countries over the past six years. The two agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming this long-standing partnership.
Bonn, Germany: Between Friday 8 July and Sunday 10 July, heavy fighting broke out in Juba which had consequences for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Agencies, Funds and Programmes active in the country.
A ceasefire was declared on Monday 11 July 2016. At least 272 people have been killed in the recent violence. Two peacekeepers and one United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) staff lost their lives while several other peacekeepers have sustained injuries.
by Christian Lunda Mwamanga
Kampala, Uganda: Uganda is home to over half a million refugees residing in settlements and urban centres all over the country. Earlier this year the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recognised Uganda as one of the best countries in the world for refugees to live, since they are given opportunities to work, freedom of movement, access to education, health care and a secure environment.
In the aftermath of conflicts or natural disasters, people often need assistance from the international community. The United Nations is there to help get the aid flowing and to enable recovery and rehabilitation. UN Volunteers frequently play a key part in delivering this assistance, and often at the front line.