Today is International Volunteers Day. This year’s theme, “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.” highlights how volunteers respond to people’s needs in times of crisis.
The number of people affected by humanitarian emergencies, whether caused by conflict or natural disaster, is growing every day, taking its toll on people and communities around the world.
Acting to help people affected by tragic events, volunteers provide immediate assistance in life-threatening situations and play a critical role in rescue operations after catastrophes.
UN Volunteers, with UNDP, have assisted communities recover from earthquakes in Ecuador and Nepal, and built local capacity to cope with future disasters in South and East Asia and the Pacific.
Volunteers are also essential in preventing conflict and minimizing the risks of violence in sensitive periods of political transition. In Kenya and Liberia, UN Volunteers, with UNDP, have been deployed to prevent and mitigate violence during and after the elections.
To mark International Volunteer Day this year, I want to honour the engagement of volunteers the world over who deliver assistance to people affected by crises, and often sacrificing their own safety for their commitment to the community.
Join me today in recognising the invaluable service of volunteers who act first when crisis strikes – in their own countries or further afield.
#VolunteersActFirst. Here. Everywhere.