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Volunteer Groups Alliance side event to the High-Level Political Forum 2016 session
 
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Panelists of the Volunteer Groups Alliance Side Event to the HLPF 2016 session. Photo by Joel Sheakoski.

Dear colleague,

We are pleased to share news of the successful Volunteer Groups Alliance side event to the High-Level Political Forum 2016 session.
 
The event, Mobilizing volunteers to ensure we leave no one behind provided the many organisations that mobilise volunteers – locally, nationally and globally – with an opportunity to position the approach effectively within the Sustainable Development Goals. The speakers highlighted a solid variety of good practices in the sector and key messages included:

  • how volunteers are building bridges between governments and their citizens, bringing people’s voices into the debates;
  • how governments intend to implement, follow up and review an inclusive and participatory agenda by involving volunteer groups; and
  • why leveraging civil society and volunteer expertise in the collection of data and monitoring of the agenda is important, ensuring that people who are traditionally left out are included in the process.

The panel-style approach to the event was an effective platform to showcase joint advocacy efforts. Few movements are able to hone a message so effectively. This is a testament to the great work that has been done by the many organisations involved in the Volunteer Groups Alliance over the years under the leadership of Gill Greer and the strategic support of Adjmal Dulloo. Working together – embracing all the unique features of individual organisations – we will ensure that volunteerism is understood and remains central to achieving the SDGs.
 
France: Mr Olivier Brochenin stressed the importance of civil society and volunteering in reaching the most marginalised and disadvantaged people, underlining that volunteering is an efficient and flexible tool that can be used to gather data from remote areas to report on the implementation of SDGs.

Samoa: Ms Peseta Simi underscored that Samoa has worked with a wide variety of volunteer organisations, and recognised the important role they play in its development. She stated that Samoa is working towards the meaningful engagement of volunteers, not only in service delivery, but also in contributing to policy and program development. She stressed that volunteers build capacities and social cohesion as well as facilitate active participation to improve accountability to affected populations.

Germany: Mr Reinhard Krapp also highlighted that volunteer-involving organisations can increase accountability and promote community participation in the implementation of SDGs. He noted that many societies would not exist without the work of volunteers, and underlined that most SDGs will require engagement from volunteers to be successful, particularly when it comes to the empowerment of the most vulnerable. He highlighted the example of the many volunteers in Germany who helped to manage the influx of the one million refugees and migrants last year.

Many more opportunities will present themselves in our countries and on a global stage and we look forward to our continued collaboration in this area.
 
With best wishes,

Evelyne Guidon
Forum Board and Executive Director
Cuso International
On behalf of the Forum Board of Directors
 
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