UN to enhance role of youth volunteers in global development
A new trust fund aimed at boosting youth volunteers kicked off Friday with the goal of transforming the energy of the world's young people into tangible global development targets, the United Nations has announced.
Launched by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Volunteers (UNV), the trust fund will provide the financial foundations for the creation of a youth volunteering modality which, in turn, will assist governments in the development of their own national and regional youth volunteer schemes while encouraging thousands of young people to support peace and development activities worldwide.
"Through volunteering, young people gain a strong sense of civic engagement to bring about transformational change in their communities," the UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, said in a news release.
"Youth participation and volunteering are critical for achieving sustainable human development and UNDP will continue to attach high importance to the youth agenda, including through the UN Youth Volunteers Programme," Clark added.
Since launching operations in 1971, the UNV programme has deployed more than 7,700 volunteers every year nationally and internationally, with 80 percent coming from developing countries, and more than 30 per cent volunteering within their own countries.
The volunteers play key roles in contributing to peace and development in some 130 countries, helping to organize and run local and national elections and supporting a large number of peacekeeping and humanitarian projects.
Overall, UN Volunteers comprise one third of all international civilians working in UN peacekeeping operations, according to the UNV website.
However, with the new trust fund in play, UNV voiced hope that it would be able to build on the current 87 international youth volunteers it already deploys across 50 countries.
Adding his voice to the celebration of the fund's establishment, UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus urged Member States to contribute to the USD 5 million sought for the programme's initial roll-out.
"We look forward to building on further support from other development partners as the programme expands and will require more financial resources," Dictus stated, as he thanked the Government of Germany for its USD 1.5 million endowment, the first to contribute to the fund.
"This will enable us to reach as many youth around the world as possible."