International Volunteer Day, 5 December 2014
As we celebrate International Volunteer Day today, VSO welcomes the Secretary General’s emphasis on volunteering in the report released yesterday on the Post 2015 agenda.
“By acknowledging that volunteering is a powerful means of not only tacking inequality and alleviating poverty, but also of putting people at the heart of development efforts, we are raising the voices of millions of people worldwide for the first time.” said Priya Nath, Global Policy and Advocacy Advisor (Post-2015), VSO.
Volunteering has until now been an invisible part of how the MDGs have been delivered. Millions of people every day volunteer as caregivers or dedicate their time and energy to making sure the most vulnerable members of their communities have access to vital information or helping them to manage simple everyday tasks. We must now use this opportunity to recognise and support these vital invisible actors in development.
VSO also welcomes the fact that in this report the Secretary General looked beyond the financial and technical means by which the next development agenda will be realised, and has also recognised the importance of ‘people power’.
It is good to see that the UN Secretary General and his team listened closely to the people who have been saying that addressing gender inequality and realizing women’s rights remains one of the key challenges in all regions of the world and must be recognised. But, as he says himself in this report, there is no region in the world where full gender equality has been realised so there remains urgent unfinished business.
“We know that no country can develop if half its population is locked out, and women, constituting half the world’s population are not a minority group. The framework must provide for the full, meaningful and equal participation and influence of women at all levels of decision making in political and public life. The Secretary General has missed an opportunity to highlight the global demand that there be a clear provision in the new Goals for achieving an equal voice for women in all decisions that affect their lives, their communities and their world, “ said Priya Nath, Global Policy and Advocacy Advisor (Post-2015), VSO
In the months ahead VSO will work to ensure that civil society is actively involved in the intergovernmental process which is due to begin in January 2015. It is important that no aspect of setting this next development agenda is done behind closed doors or simply left to ‘technical specialists’.
VSO will also be following discussions by members states and are keen to see whether the aspect of non- financial means of implementation are taken up by member states.
“This is vital to realising this people-centred form of development in which we so fundamentally believe.” added Nath.
UN Synthesis report on Post 2015 Agenda:http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sgsm16396.doc.htm
Para 131. As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root,
volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation.
Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in
national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals. And volunteer
groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction
between governments and people for concrete and scalable actions.
VSO on International Volunteer Day is running the Step Forward campaign asking people of all ages and nationalities to take up the challenge and join the millions of ordinary people worldwide who are doing extraordinary things. Watch the #Step Forward film
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. VSO's high-impact approach involves bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action, and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all. Learn about VSO's post-2015 advocacy work.