News and events
Meeting of European agencies involved in international volunteering
Forum member, AKLHÜ, together with Forum, hosted a meeting of European agencies involved in international volunteering (7-8 May 2015). The meeting focused on sharing information on international volunteering from each participating country, existing and new forms of cooperation between European agencies, and the idea of creating country specific programs and forms of volunteering to align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A report on the event is currently being prepared and will be shared with Forum members upon completion.
The importance of volunteerism is being recognised in the post-2015 development agenda
International Volunteering and Cooperation Organisations (IVCOs) and other Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs) have been working to ensure that the importance of volunteering is recognised in the post-2015 development agenda. Recently released, the Zero Draft of the outcome document of the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, recognises that voluntary groups and volunteers will need to be engaged and involved in the implementation of the agenda for it to be successful.
In the lead up to the release of the Zero Draft, Forum participated in the discussion on a number of levels together with VIO counterparts as representatives of ‘Volunteer Groups’. Many attended the fifth session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda (18-20 May 2015, New York), which focused on how to organise and review the post-2015 development agenda and its goals, including the role of the High Level Political Forum. At the session, Mr. Samuel Mensah-Baah, Voluntary Services Overseas Regional Director for West and Central Africa, spoke on behalf of ‘Volunteer Groups’ and called on the UN system and Member States to adopt a "strong participatory, bottom up approach to review and follow-up".
In early May, Forum member, German Association for Learning and Helping Overseas (Arbeitskreis Lernen und Helfen in Übersee e.V.) wrote to the German Government to request support for the views expressed by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on the importance of volunteerism and Volunteer Groups. In his Synthesis Report on the post-2015 agenda, Ban Ki-Moon recognised volunteerism as a “powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation” that can help “to expand and mobilise constituencies, and to engage people in national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals”.
‘Volunteer Groups’ also took part in the fourth session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda (21-24 April 2015, New York), which focused on the means of implementation and global partnerships for development. At a side event on “The power of volunteerism as a cross-cutting means of implementation”, organised by members of the Post-2015 Volunteer Working Group (including Forum), volunteerism was highlighted as a crucial component of the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 17 and VIOs called for people-centred approaches to implementation.
The Zero Draft is an important opportunity to further position volunteering in the discussion on the post-2015 agenda. The Post-2015 Volunteer Working Group/Volunteer Groups will continue to engage in the discussion through the June session of the intergovernmental negotiations (22-25 June 2015); the meeting of the High Level Political Forum (26 June-8 July 2015); and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (13-16 July 2015).
Sources: UNV Bulletins April, May and June 2015