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Celebrating volunteers’ contribution in humanitarian crises

Press Release:

International Volunteer Day – celebrating volunteers’ contribution in humanitarian crises

Bangkok, Thailand - 5 December 2017

Today, countries in Asia and the Pacific and around the world celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD). International Volunteer Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of volunteers worldwide in peace and development. This year, under the theme “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere,” we celebrate International Volunteer Day to especially highlight the support volunteers provide in times of instability, disasters or humanitarian crises.

Volunteers are often the first to offer support in times of crisis and instability. In 2017, volunteers, often members of affected communities themselves, have been rapidly descending to the affected areas to help save lives, find survivors, provide water, food and shelter for the displaced, and mobilize resources for the communities.

For example, in Viet Nam, volunteers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided emergency assistance to families affected by the flash floods in August. Similarly in Bangladesh, 1,200 volunteers were deployed to provide critical health services and relief items to flood survivors. In the Philippines, volunteers are braving sniper fire and rocket strikes to rescue civilians trapped in a city torn apart by fighting.

Olivier Adam, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, who is joining IVD celebration in Kathmandu, Nepal commends the dedications of volunteers and the solidarity they bring to communities affected by crises.

“On International Volunteer Day, let us recognize the relentless efforts of volunteers who answer calls in times of need for the common dignity of all,” states Adam.

Celebrations of International Volunteer Day have been organized in many countries in the region. To name a few - workshops on disaster risk reduction and disaster management are being conducted in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, while stakeholders gathered to discuss youth volunteering in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam.

EDITORS’ NOTES:

International Volunteer Day (IVD), celebrated every year on 5 December to recognize and celebrate the contribution of volunteers worldwide in peace and development.

This year’s theme - Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere. The objective of this year’s campaign is to showcase the crucial role played by volunteers in times of crisis all over the world, despite the security risks they often face, and increase global recognition of their contributions.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. UNV contributes to peace and development by mobilizing volunteers, advocating for volunteerism globally and encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming.

UNV’s vision is a world where volunteerism is recognized, within societies, as a way for all people and countries to achieve peace and development through the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequalities and exclusion.


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