Lima, Peru: The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) of International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations (IVCO) recently closed its annual Conference in Lima, Peru, with a Declaration calling for Member States to recognize volunteer groups as key partners and stakeholders of the Post-2015 framework and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Declaration also calls for ensuring an active role for citizens, including volunteers, in any accountability mechanism to monitor progress towards the SDGs; and affirms that “the full potential of volunteers to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs can be unlocked only by an SDG framework that explicitly recognizes and supports volunteerism”. An Appendix to the Declaration details specific possible contributions to the proposed SDG framework.
Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in a video address to the Conference fully acknowledged the role of volunteers for development so far, as well as in the new framework. “Experience with the MDGs has shown us that development cooperation has to look beyond technical and financial assistance and embrace people-centred approaches and solutions, which are devised from the ground up,” said Helen Clark. “I know volunteer organizations are central to this and that volunteer action supports skills transfer, capacity building and the delivery of MDG-related services to the poorest and most marginalized people, to whom formal systems would have struggled to deliver.”
Amina J. Mohammed, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning and a key note speaker at the Conference, said that volunteers are strategic partners because they work across sectors and constituencies.
At the Conference, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme co-organized a session on the way forward for volunteer groups to position volunteerism as the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations unfold, and presented its proposed ten-year Plan of Action for the integration of volunteerism.
UNV is also actively contributing to the Post-2015 process as part of the wider UN-system efforts. UNV’s multifaceted contribution includes inter alia co-leading the UN Post-2015 dialogues on partnerships with civil society, as well as supporting Forum and other VIOs who are members of the Post-2015 Volunteering Working Group, in taking action to ensure that the role of volunteer groups is clearly reflected in the SDGs. UNV has been increasingly brokering opportunities for stakeholders from the volunteer sector to be recognized and heard at national and international level.