About United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

Our goal

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development by helping volunteerism become an integral part of every peace and human development agenda, whether it is for an international, regional, national or local endeavour.

Our Inspiration

UNV is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development. Everyone can contribute towards common development goals by dedicating their time and energy towards it. Volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation.

How we achieve our goal

UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UN Volunteers, throughout the world. UNV embraces volunteerism as universal and inclusive, and recognizes volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.

Based in Bonn, Germany, UNV is active in around 130 countries every year. UNV, with Field Units in 86 countries, is represented worldwide through the offices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and reports to the UNDP Executive Board.

Mandate for UNV

UNV’s mandate has significantly evolved since its establishment in 1970. Initially, the organization’s role was to recruit, place and administer qualified volunteers, who provided support to UN agencies. In 1976, UN GA resolution broadened the UNV mandate to promote the advancement of the role of youth in development. In 2001, the UN GA further expanded UNV’s role as the UN’s focal point for raising awareness of volunteerism and providing technical cooperation to developing countries to harness the potential of volunteerism as a resource for achieving the MGDs.

International Year of Volunteering (IYV) and its tenth year anniversary celebrated in 2011 have raised the focus of UNV activities on recognition, facilitation, promotion and networking for volunteerism in development


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