International Volunteer Day

Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt

December 6, 2022


As prepared for delivery. 

Dear Guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

• It is a great pleasure and honour to be here with you to observe this year’s International Volunteer Day. 

• This is an occasion to celebrate and highlight the immense contributions made by volunteers to every aspect of development. 

• Worldwide, approximately a billion volunteers of all ages are working tirelessly to tackle the challenges faced by their communities today to help build a better tomorrow.

• Volunteerism is not an exception; it has become central to our lives and should be recognized as such.

• In recent years we have all seen the invaluable role played by volunteers in local and global efforts to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

• By dedicating their time and talents and their energy and enthusiasm to tackling such complex challenges, volunteers make a difference to billions of people’s lives – and especially the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

• UNDP has been working closely with UN Volunteers to recognise, support and promote volunteering efforts everywhere, because we believe the more people are involved in solving our common challenges, the more sustainable our solutions will be.

Dear volunteers,

• I would like to take this opportunity to thank you directly for your dedication of time and skills throughout this past year. 

• Your generous efforts have contributed to finding innovative solutions to pressing challenges, responding to changing societal needs, and helping the most vulnerable people.

• You can reflect together with pride on the good work you have been doing for communities and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

• Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic we have witnessed an intensification and worsening of numerous global challenges. 

• The pandemic itself has highlighted the complex interdependency of societies and economies and the need to work together to find solutions to interconnected issues. 

• This is why the focus of this year’s International Volunteers Days is on solidarity.

• Volunteers not only practice solidarity in seeking new ways of working together for the common good but also contribute to building a strong sense of solidarity in communities. 

• By building trust and mutual respect through their work across all parts of society, volunteers like yourselves are some of the most outstanding role models of solidarity. 

• As the UN Secretary General recently stated: “Volunteerism is a two-way street. As volunteers improve the lives of others, their own lives are often transformed by the act of volunteering itself.”

• Over the years, through hackathons, innovation bootcamps and numerous other activities and events, we have helped to engage thousands of young volunteers to help craft development solutions and build more inclusive communities.

• Solidarity will be even more crucial in the years ahead to support the enormous collective efforts needed to protect our planet from the impacts of climate change. 

• When the Government of Egypt asked us to support the COP27 volunteers, we wholeheartedly agreed --, and I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Government of Egypt, the European Union and the Governments of Denmark and Switzerland for partnering with us to promote volunteerism. 

• Together, we helped train over 600 volunteers as coordinators, guides and supervisors to ensure the success of COP27, providing a valuable opportunity for young Egyptians to gain new skills and experience. 

• I had the opportunity to meet and talk to many of these young women and men in person during the COP27. 

• And I know some of them are here with us today, so I would like to say a special THANK YOU to Aliaa, Amira, Arwa, Farida, Hannia, Kariman, Khaled, Saif, and Tari. 

• Your dedication and sleepless nights have made us all proud and are an inspiration for the next generation of volunteers. 

• Finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you here today for playing your part in building a better and more sustainable future.