“As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root, volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation. Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies and to engage people in national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals. And volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new areas of interaction between Governments and people for concrete and scalable actions” (UN Secretary General Synthesis report on the Post 2015 agenda).
Every day across the world, millions of ordinary citizens give of their time to volunteer, making a vital and often under-recognised contribution to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the last year, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) estimated that one billion people gave of their time and energy to volunteer, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has estimated that volunteering adds 2.4% to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Volunteer Groups Alliance (VGA) is a global coalition bringing together organisation and networks working in over 150 countries that contribute to sustainable development through volunteering in all its forms. It seeks to
- promote and highlight the contribution of volunteers in delivering the SDGs
- connect organizations working with Volunteer Groups across the world to help amplify the collective impact of volunteers in national, regional, and global SDG follow up and review processes
- gain recognition for the crucial role of volunteers in successfully monitoring and ultimately achieving the SDGs
VGA calls for member states to
- formally recognize the contribution of volunteering to the implementation of the SDGs in their Voluntary National Reviews
- ensure that Volunteer Groups are fully recognized and supported in the national plans and strategies for implementing the 2030 Agenda
- supports the participation of non-governmental actors in the SDG follow up and review processes
- ensure the accountability, transparency and review framework for the SDGs involves community consultation at all levels, including representation of the most marginalised voices, as well as the volunteers that work closest to them
- David Styers, VolunteerGroupsAlliance@gmail.com