Joint Statement of the UNDP Administrator and the Executive Coordinator of UNV on the occasion of the 2015 International Volunteers Day Delivered by Mr. Walid Badawi, Country Director, UNDP South Africa.

Dec 5, 2015

Distinguished Guests, Volunteers, Ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark, the United Nations Volunteers Programme Executive Coordinator, Mr. Richard Dictus and the UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Mr. Gana Fofang, I welcome you to this year’s International Volunteers Day event.

 

Every year on International Volunteer Day (IVD), we recognize the invaluable contributions of volunteers to peace and development.  This year’s International Volunteer Day (IVD) theme, "The world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!" This year’s celebration which is coming just two months after the launch of the new, universal development agenda, is challenging each and every one of us to be part of implementing the Global Goals. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions. The SDGs will guide development for the next fifteen years, offering a chance to meet the global citizenry's aspirations for a more peaceful and prosperous, and sustainable future.

 

When people volunteer their time, skills and energy, they are addressing inequality, innovating, and working with a broad range of partners to accomplish the Global Goals. Through volunteerism we bring people into the implementation process; volunteers create spaces for people to engage, acquire voice and contribute to saving the planet and humankind.

 

The contribution of volunteers in the new development agenda is two-fold. Volunteerism is a way for us all to be directly involved in achieving sustainable development and peace. At the same time, this essential way of fostering people’s participation makes it a key element for success when striving for sustainability of development. Volunteer organizations can be brokers of civic engagement, connecting institutional initiatives with volunteer action at local, national and global levels.

 

An example of the impact of volunteerism is the Let Girls Be Girls campaign in Uganda. UN Volunteers have supported the Ministry of Health and the UN on decreasing the rate of teen pregnancy through an awareness campaign on the need for better education and health-care for girls. These volunteer efforts have led to community champions advocating for girls staying in school longer and explaining how this leads to improved lives for all.

 

UNDP and UNV in South Africa is currently supporting the provincial government of Limpopo, Department of Health and Social Services to improve its health services delivery by recruiting International UN Volunteers - medical doctors, under the Doctors Programme. This Programme is 100% funded by Limpopo Department of Health and Social Services and since 2002, more than 80 medical professionals have been recruited and deployed by UNDP/UNV in 13 hospitals in Limpopo Province.

 

We also have UN volunteers who are supporting UNHCR and UNFPA to deliver their refugee and Maternal and Child health programs in the country. UNV works in collaboration with DIRCO and NYDA in the area of Youth Volunteer Programs. It is envisaged that through a South-South Cooperation framework, South Africa will be able to fund youth volunteering assignments in the SADC region.

 

On IVD 2015, we commend volunteers everywhere who are already making a difference in a changing world, and showing the power of volunteerism to move towards sustainable development.  Let us all harness the potential that volunteering has to making global sustainable development a reality. It speaks to each of us to play a role, one volunteer action at a time. “The World is Changing. Are you? Volunteer”.

 

I thank you all.

Contact UNDP in South Africa

Christina Shorai Nyambalo Phone +27 12 354 8086

Mail: Christina.nyambalo@undp.org Fax: +27 86 634 4814