Steps towards World Volunteer Coalition begin in Bonn

Bonn, Germany: Delegates from five continents will congregate in Bonn this month to prepare the ground for a world coalition of voluntary organizations.

The ‘Sharing Global Voices’ conference, to be held in Langer Eugen from 21-22 February, leads up to other major events this year for governments and civil society. In particular, the United Nations Department of Public Information’s annual NGO global conference is set to come to Bonn in September.

The year 2011 marks both the European Year of Volunteers and the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers. Both campaigns aim to promote and recognize the value of volunteering, and support voluntary organizations in their work.

The International Year of Volunteers +10 campaign involves organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (Germany’s Pathfinders). The Bonn-based United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme acts as the focal point for the campaign.

A key aim is to activate national bodies and coordinating committees across the world to speak out for volunteers and the difference they make to society. At the ‘Sharing Global Voices’ meet, representatives of such bodies from Australia, Brazil, Jordan, Nepal, Senegal, Turkey and several other countries will for the first time have the chance to meet their European Union partners from Belgium, Poland, Sweden and elsewhere.

The overall campaign will culminate on 5 December with a United Nations General Assembly session on the volunteer sector, and the launch of the first State of the World’s Volunteerism Report. This will outline the significance of volunteering not only for economic development but also for areas such as sustainable livelihoods, social inclusion, disaster risk reduction, governance and political participation.


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