Voluntary sector comes to Turkey to move development agenda forward

14 Apr 2011

The United Nations and organizations from across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States are arriving in the Turkish capital to explore ways of beating poverty through citizen action.

AnkaraCivil society and voluntary organizations are key players pushing for progress, and tapping this vast resource could be a major step towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals.Volunteeringorganizations and government delegates are therefore gathering in Ankara as part of a series of get-togethers aimed at paving the way for a World Volunteer Coalition.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, and a number of national and global organizations are working together on common objectives. The Ankara meeting aims to start shifting the development debate in the region, and will be followed in May by consultations for Asia and Africa in the Philippines and Senegal. The first such meeting took place in Quito, Ecuador, during April.

Delegates at each regional conference are invited to formulate recommendations on volunteering for peace and development. Bringing together the diverse range of organizations will also give them the chance to share a multitude of ideas and experiences, while strengthening partnerships and synergies.

The meeting at the Niza Park Hotel in Ankara from 18-19 April brings together representatives from across the non-profit sector, from national civil society organizations to government ministries. Several Turkish volunteering organizations, such as Türkiye Eğitim Gönüllüleri Vakfı and Gençlik Servisleri Merkezi, are also attending. The Chief of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme Development Division, Mr. Ghulam Iscazai, will be available for media interviews at selected times.

Turkey was chosen as the conference venue due to its unique position as a bridge between continents. As well as the host nation, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Yemen are all represented along with a presence from the European Volunteer Centre under the auspices of the European Year of Volunteering.

A global volunteering conference organized by UNV, the International Association for Volunteer Effort(IAVE) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies follows in Budapest during September 2011, and may cement the establishment of a world coalition of volunteering organizations that will speak with one voice. A United Nations General Assembly session during December 2011 will also be dedicated to volunteering.

About the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers

Volunteering empowers people to take an active part in the development of their own communities, to take responsibility for the needs of others, and to make an impact in their own lives. Volunteering often starts at home: but together, volunteers can change the world.

It is 10 years since the International Year of Volunteers in 2001, and through United Nations General Assembly Resolution 63/153 (2008), the United Nations called for this anniversary to be marked across the planet. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme was designated as the focal point for IYV+10 in order to catalyse action at the national, regional and global levels. The aims of the wide range of partners are to promote the values of volunteering, recognize the value of volunteering, build and reinforce volunteering networks both nationally and globally, and help people tap their potential to make a difference to peace-building and development.

See www.worldvolunteerweb.org for more.


Philip Sen
Communications Officer
International Year of Volunteers +10, UNV
Tel: +49 228 815 2019

       +49 174 757 3209

E-mail: philip.sen@unvolunteers.org


Faik Uyanik
Communications Officer
UNDP Turkey
Tel: +90 312 454 1105

       +90 530 499 2548

E-mail: faik.uyanik@undp.org