50 COUNTRIES ENDORSE DRAFT UN RESOLUTION ON VOLUNTEERING
NEW YORK/BONN, 27 February 2001--The UN Commission for Social Development has
approved a draft resolution on volunteering and social development which
calls on governments to
recognize and further study the impact of voluntary effort in society.
Representatives of fifty UN Member States endorsed the draft, in which the
Commission last Friday
encouraged States to support voluntary action, by increasing public
awareness of its vital
contribution to their communities and by taking general measures concerning
promotion of volunteers.
"This is a landmark decision," said Sharon Capeling-Alakija, Executive
Coordinator of the
Bonn-based United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV). "It is the first time
in 56 years that the
United Nations has had a substantive discussion on volunteerism. Member
States really got down to
business and laid out a framework for the future in terms of what
governments and the United
Nations can do to recognize, facilitate and promote volunteerism."
Ms. Capeling-Alakija added that the draft resolution "opened doors" for
volunteers around the world
to contribute their ideas to their representatives who will attend the UN
General Assembly plenary
sessions on volunteerism on 5 December -- International Volunteer Day.
By other terms of the draft, which was introduced on 22 February by the
representative of Japan,
States would be encouraged to establish fiscal and legislative frameworks
volunteering, to undertake research into the various aspects of
volunteerism and its impact on
society, and to ensure citizens have access to information on opportunities
Governments would also be called on to take into consideration the possible
impact of general
socio-economic policies upon citizens' opportunities, ability and
willingness to volunteer. The
Commission draft would further encourage governments to take volunteerism
into consideration in
their national planning, and to recognize the contribution of volunteerism
to the achievement of
social development goals.
The draft emphasized, however, that support for voluntary actions did not
imply support for
government downsizing or for replacing paid employment.
The draft will now be presented to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
consideration. ECOSOC is then expected to recommend the resolution's
adoption by the UN
The Commission took this action as it met to continue its review of
follow-up to the World Summit for
Social Development (Copenhagen 1995).
The countries that agreed to sign the resolution are: Andorra, Austria,
Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin,
Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus,
Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France,
Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of
Macedonia, Malta, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Peru,
Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA,
Yugoslavia and Zambia.
Read detailed information about volunteerism and social development as part
of the Commission
for Social Development debate:
-- PDF file).
Read a background document about government dialogue on volunteer policies
International Year of Volunteers 2001 (IYV 2001):
UNV is the volunteer arm of the UN system. It extends hands-on assistance
and development in nearly 150 countries. Created by the UN General Assembly in
1970 and administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
UNV works through UNDP country offices to send volunteers and promote the
of volunteerism around the world. UN Volunteers have extensive experience
100 professional fields. UNV is the UN-designated focal point for the
Year of Volunteers 2001.
For further information, please contact:
Yuko Osawa, UNV Representation Office in North America, Tel: (212) 906 3634;
Richard Nyberg, UNV Bonn, Tel: (49 228) 815 2223; Email: