New York, Dec 5 2006 11:00AM
The United Nations today honoured the tens of thousands of volunteers from both developing and industrialized countries who over the past 35 years have supported the Organization’s peace, relief and development initiatives around the planet, as well as the millions of others who daily offer their humanitarian services.
“Their ethos makes volunteerism one of the most visible, and most welcome, attributes of global citizenship,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan
said in a message marking International Volunteer Day. “In ways both big and small, volunteers are transforming their communities and our world. “And in this era of growing problems without passports, from HIV/AIDS to trafficking in people and contraband, they are providing grass-roots solutions to humanity’s most pressing needs.” Mr. Annan stressed the importance of volunteers in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals, the targets set by the UN World Summit of 2000 to halve extreme poverty and hunger, ensure universal primary education, slash child mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters and reverse the incidence of HIV/AIDS, as well as tackle a host of other social ills – all by 2015.
“Each day, millions of volunteers make a statement that despite everything – despite poverty and hatred, despite apathy and the seeming intractability of some of the challenges we face ¬– people can change the world for the better,” he said. The UN’s own volunteer programme http://www.unvolunteers.org was created by the General Assembly in 1970 to serve as an operational partner in development cooperation at the request of UN Member States. It is administered by the UN Development Programme http://www.undp.org and works through UNDP country offices around the world. In 2005, its eighth consecutive year of growth, UNV mobilized some 8,400 volunteers, representing 168 nationalities, who served in 144 countries. Since 1971, more than 30,000 UN Volunteers have supported humanitarian efforts. Since its adoption by the General Assembly in 1985,