International Volunteer Day (IVD) (originally and still known as International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development) (December 5) is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985. It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make their contributions visible - at local, national and international levels - to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme works closely with partners and governments to establish national volunteer programmes to create structures that foster and sustain local volunteerism in countries. Through the Online Volunteering service volunteers can take action for sustainable human development by supporting the activities of development organizations over the Internet.
The main focus of IVD 2014 is not only celebrate volunteerism in all its facets - but also pay special tribute to people's participation in making a difference locally, nationally and globally. IVD 2014 highlights the contribution of volunteers in engaging people from the grass-roots in decision-making processes, ultimately creating space for participation that leads to: stronger governance, social cohesion, peace, love and sustainable development.
|"Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time and skills without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message for the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development 5 December 2012
International Volunteer Day is a chance for individual volunteers, communities and organizations to promote their contributions to development at the local, national and international levels. By combining UN support with a grassroots mandate, International Volunteer Day is a unique opportunity for people and volunteer-involving organizations to work with government agencies, non-profit institutions, community groups, academia and the private sector.
The International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution A/RES/40/212 on 17 December 1985.
Through the years, International Volunteer Day has been used strategically: many countries have focused on volunteers' contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, a set of time-bound targets to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.
The organization of International Volunteer Day is generally the result of a partnership between the UN system, governments, volunteer-involving organizations and committed individuals. Representatives from the media or academia, foundations, the private sector, faith groups, and sports and recreational organizations are often involved too.
The General Assembly invited Governments to observe annually, on 5 December, an International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (resolution 40/212 of 17 December 1985) and urged them to take measures to heighten awareness of the important contribution of volunteer service, thereby stimulating more people in all walks of life to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad.
The United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 52/17 of 20 November 1997 proclaimed 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) The year was conceived for the purpose of furthering the recognition of volunteers, facilitating their work creating a network of communication and promoting the benefits of voluntary service.
In 2001, the International Year of Volunteers, the General Assembly adopted a set of recommendations on ways in which Governments and the United Nations system could support volunteering and asked that they be given wide dissemination (resolution 56/38 of 5 December 2001).
On 18 December 2008 the General Assembly decided that on or around 5 December 2011, the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development, two plenary meetings of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly should be devoted to follow-up to the International Year and the commemoration of its tenth anniversary (resolution 63/153).
The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 57/106 of 22 November 2002, called upon the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to ensure that the potential of International Volunteer Day is fully realized.
The UNV Online Volunteering service connects development organizations directly with online volunteers who can provide services and advice over the internet. Every year, UNV mobilizes more than 11,000 UN Online Volunteers who undertake more than 17,000 online volunteering assignments. 60 percent of online volunteers come from developing countries.
A jury made up of UNV representatives and external experts in volunteerism and development cooperation reviews the nominations and selects the winners. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme presents this award to online volunteers or teams of online volunteers who have made exemplary contributions to peace and development through the Internet.
Every year, UNV announces the winners of the UNV Online Volunteering Award around mid-November and launches a global voting campaign for the public's favorite winner. In the lead up to International Volunteer Day on 5 December, UNV invites citizens worldwide to be inspired by the winners' stories and participate in the global voting for their favorite winner on the service's website. The team that gets the most votes is announced as the public's favorite on International Volunteer Day (IVD).
The purpose of the award is to recognize online volunteers' contributions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, to showcase the many ways in which online volunteers can strengthen the capacities of organizations and to demonstrate the difference volunteers can make to peace and development projects by sharing their time, skills and expertise over the Internet.
The UNV Online Volunteering Award presents an opportunity for both, online volunteers and organizations, to bring their online volunteering experiences and good practices to the attention of a global audience. All winners are featured in the Stories section of the UNV Online Volunteering service website.