On International Volunteer Day, we recognise the extraordinary contribution of volunteers across the globe.
So far in 2020, over 9,000 United Nations Volunteers -- from 18 to 81 years old -- have served with over 45 United Nations entities through the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme, which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosts with great pride.
UN Volunteers are serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to help communities in 105 countries to quickly respond to this unprecedented crisis:
That includes everything from medical professionals offering their vital skills to healthcare centres in Kenya, Yemen, and South Sudan.
To preventing and responding to the spike in gender-based violence in countries such as Peru.
To working to distribute food to displaced persons in Mozambique.
And crucially, volunteers are helping communities to build forward better from the pandemic while accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals:
From shaping “climate-smart” villages in Sri-Lanka.
To advancing opportunities for persons with disabilities in Kazakhstan.
To building the digital skills of women and girls in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Like many of those on the frontlines of the pandemic, volunteers face extreme workloads and numerous risks.
The United Nations is ensuring that our volunteers receive the support they need -- from the provision of personal protective equipment to ensuring that they have access to vital mental health and psychosocial support.
Indeed, the results that volunteers have achieved during the past year show that it is worth trying.
Volunteers who offer their skills and time are writing the next chapter for people and planet:
So, this day is a moment for all of us to say “thank you” to the 1 billion volunteers worldwide for their courageous efforts at this critical time for our global community.
Together, we can realise that greener, more inclusive, and more sustainable future.
-Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)