Guest Post

Reflecting Volunteer Contributions to the SDGs in Voluntary National Reviews - Guidance Note for UN Member States

Date of submission
Submitted by
Celina Menzel

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of volunteers in delivering services, disseminating information and awareness and developing localized solutions has proved as important as ever. UNV estimates that globally there are around one billion volunteers that carry out a range of roles in their communities and societies. Therefore, volunteering is an enormous resource for social, economic and environmental problem-solving throughout the world, with volunteers accelerating progress towards the SDGs in the Decade of Action by contributing to eliminate poverty, improve basic health and education, tackling environmental issues, and addressing social exclusion. The contributions volunteers make to the SDGs should be recognized in Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

Incorporating data on volunteer efforts in VNRs is not only anchored in high-level political documents like the 2018 General Assembly resolution A/Res/73/140 but can also enable countries to report in line with the principles of the Voluntary National Reviews, including to:
▪ Integrate a multi-stakeholder perspective and focus on engagement at the local level.
▪ Draw on existing national official statistics and other evidence sources.
▪ Analyze the means of implementation, highlighting gaps and opportunities for achieving the SDGs.

This guidance note provides governments and VNR drafting teams with useful tools on how to recognize volunteer contributions to the SDGs in VNRs.