Explore all the United Nations resolutions highlighting the importance of volunteering in relation to a development topic and see how they have evolved since 1968
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, founded in 1970 through the UN General Assembly Resolution 2460, works to build recognition of the important contribution of volunteers to economies and societies worldwide. UNV also provides support to United Nations resolutions that promote volunteerism as a powerful means to address current development challenges such as conflict and instability, rising inequalities and climate change.
In recent years, the role of volunteerism in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals is recognized and anchored in UN resolutions, such as the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that established the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (A/RES/67/290); the UNGA resolution on Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the plan of action for the next decade and beyond (A/RES/70/129); and the UNGA resolution on Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development (A/RES/73/140).
Resolutions related to the establishment and mandate of UNV, as well as special dates, such as the International Year of Volunteering
Resolutions related to development issues and themes like peace and security, humanitarian action and youth empowerment
Resolutions related to the post-2015 development agenda, including the plan of action to integrate volunteering in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The General Assembly requested that the Economic and Social Council “study the feasibility of creating an international corps of volunteers for development”.
This resolution establishes UNV as an international group of volunteers within the framework of the United Nations system.
This resolution reaffirms the “conviction that the active participation of the younger generation in all aspects of social and economic life constitutes an important additional source of trained manpower in the over-all development efforts, thus ensuring the increased effectiveness of collective efforts necessary for a better society”.
This resolution affirms that UNV “has the potential to render valuable service to the development needs of the developing countries” and that youth participation in the United Nations system “will enhance international understanding and co-operation between nations”.
Under this resolution, UNV assumes responsibility for its own recruitment, “working directly with sponsoring agencies and organizations interested in participating in the programme”.
This resolution mandates UNV to promote and advance the role of youth in development through volunteerism.
This resolution mandates UNDP to “develop further and expand the activities of United Nations Volunteers in the field of domestic development services”, including actively promoting “the formation of regional advisory groups for domestic development services” and preparing and publishing “relevant material on volunteer and domestic development services activities”.
This resolution gives UNV a major role in technical cooperation among developing countries, with more technically qualified volunteers now recruited from these countries.
This resolution endorses increasing the number of volunteers to 1,000 by 1983 “to meet the needs and the requests of developing countries, subject to the availability of funds with the understanding that the quality of the programme will not be adversely affected”.
This resolution recognizes “the need for wider and more effective use of appropriate channels that would allow young people to participate in a concrete and effective manner in national development and in the activities of the United Nations at the national, regional, interregional and international levels”.
This resolution took note that “the title of the post of Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers programme would be changed to Executive Coordinator to reflect better the present functions and responsibilities of the post”.
This resolution “notes with satisfaction the successful achievement of the United Nations Volunteers programme during the first decade of service, that it is active in 93 countries, including the least developed countries, and that it has, in response to General Assembly resolution 34/107 of 14 December 1979, reached ahead of schedule the target of 1,000 volunteers in service”.
The General Assembly “renews its appeal to Governments, organizations and individuals to contribute to the Special Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Volunteers, and notes with appreciation that a substantial contribution has been made to the programme this year by one individual”.
The General Assembly “reaffirms that the United Nations Volunteers programme continues to be an effective instrument of multilateral technical co-operation programmes responding to the needs of the developing countries, particularly to those of the last developed among them”.
This resolution establishes 5 December as International Volunteer Day and encourages Governments “to take measures to heighten awareness of the important contribution of volunteer service, thereby stimulating more people in all walks of life to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad”.
This resolution further recognizes “the role of the United Nations Volunteers, including in the mobilization of resources oriented towards the provision of humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and technical cooperation for development” and “national initiatives, such as the establishment of a national volunteer corps called ‘White Helmets’, undertaken in order to strengthen the stand-by capacity of developing countries”.
This resolution “commends the activities and experiences of the United Nations Volunteers, including the White Helmets, deployed in the context of the implementation of resolution 49/139 B, as well as other experiences developed to improve […] the capability for a quick and coordinated response to natural disasters and other emergencies, while preserving the non-political, neutral and impartial character of humanitarian action”.
This resolution recognizes “that the White Helmets, as an operational partner of the United Nations Volunteers, are an efficient and viable mechanism for making pre-identified and trained homogeneous teams available to the United Nations system, in support of immediate relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development activities, in the light of the increasing number and growing magnitude and complexity of natural disasters and other emergencies”.
This resolution declares 2001 the International Year of Volunteers and designates UNV as the focal point and notes that “the objectives of the Year are increased promotion, recognition, facilitation and networking of voluntary action worldwide”.
This resolution proposes recommendations on how governments and the United Nations can support volunteering, defined as a “wide range of activities, including traditional forms of mutual aid and self-help, formal service delivery and other forms of civic participation, undertaken of free will, for the general public good and where monetary reward is not the principal motivating factor”.
This resolution “encourages Member States to identify and support their respective national focal points for the White Helmets in order to continue to provide the United Nations system with an accessible global network of rapid response facilities in case of humanitarian emergencies”.
This resolution calls upon stakeholders to “support volunteerism as a strategic tool to enhance economic and social development” and requests the Secretary-General to report the implementation of the current resolution.
This resolution “invites all stakeholders, especially from the private sector community and from private foundations, to support volunteerism as a strategic tool to enhance economic and social development, including by expanding corporate volunteering” and “encourages Governments to establish partnerships with civil society in order to build up volunteer potential at the national level”.
This resolution invites Governments “to carry out activities focused on marking the tenth anniversary of the International Year in 2011 at the regional and national levels” and invites the “Commission for Social Development to consider ‘volunteerism for development’ in the context of its theme of social integration at its forty-seventh and forty-eighth sessions, in 2009 and 2010 respectively”.
The 2010 Millennium Development Goal Summit commits to include a broader civil society stakeholder constituency including voluntary associations and foundations “to enhance their role in national efforts as well as their contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015”.
This resolution marks the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers and “Emphasizes the important contribution of volunteering to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and calls for a people-centred, holistic approach to the promotion of volunteering”.
This resolution recognizes that “sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and active participation” of all major groups, including volunteer groups.
This resolution recognizes that "volunteerism is an important component of any strategy aimed at such areas as poverty reduction, sustainable development, health, education, youth empowerment, climate change, disaster risk reduction, social integration, social welfare, humanitarian action, peacebuilding and, in particular, overcoming social exclusion and discrimination."
This resolution recognizes that volunteering can significantly contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, foster social cohesion and enhance social inclusion. Volunteerism should be an integral part of the post-2015 development framework.
This resolution recognizes volunteer groups as relevant stakeholders with whom Member States will interact in their discussions about achieving sustainable development.
This resolution on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda mentions volunteers among the contributors to the implementation of the post-2015 agenda as part of a new global partnership for sustainable development.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteer groups are mentioned among the means of implementation of the new agenda.
This resolution calls for a “broader, more people-centred approach to disaster risk” and notes that “governments should engage with relevant stakeholders, including […] volunteers, […] in the design and implementation of policies, principles and standards”.
This resolution “recognizes the importance of integrating volunteerism […] into the planning for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and encourages the United Nations system, civil society and the private sector, in partnership with Member States, to support such efforts and promote a conducive environment for volunteerism and volunteers to enhance the sustainability of development results”.
Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development This resolution requested UNV and invited the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to “jointly organize the global technical meeting to be held in 2020 on the theme ‘Reimagining volunteerism for the 2030 Agenda’ […] to further strengthen the engagement and contributions of volunteers with regard to the 2030 Agenda”.