On International Volunteer Day, we recognise the estimated one billion volunteers who offer their skills, time and enthusiasm to communities across the world.
From tackling climate change, to providing healthcare, to giving marginalized people more opportunities to improve their own futures, nearly 8,000 United Nations Volunteers currently serve with over 40 UN entities. For instance, UN Volunteers have worked with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to create neutral forums to bring conflicted parties together to help build peace. Or in Pakistan, where the World Health Organization mobilized over 150 UN Volunteers as district monitors to support measles readiness assessment campaigns, targeting 32 million children.
Inclusion is a defining feature of volunteerism. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme offers a wide variety of opportunities for everyone to make a difference irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. This is exemplified by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities -- from Armenia to Zimbabwe, 15 UN Volunteers work with UNDP and foster inclusion in their capacity as role models in the countries where they serve.
On International Volunteer Day, I commend the work of volunteers worldwide -- a contribution that will be ever more critical in the upcoming Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And the remarkable results already achieved by volunteers every day show how it is possible to play an active part in shaping a brighter, more sustainable and more inclusive future.
Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)