State of the World’s Volunteerism Report

By Diego Beamonte, traduction française Namory Diakhate, traducción española Ana Beltran
29 February 2012

In 2011, volunteering took a giant leap towards its growing recognition by the international community. With the publication of the first ‘State of the World’s Volunteerism Report’, the conditions and motivations which define volunteering have been formally united to be affirmed as ‘Universal Values for Global Well-being’.

ICVolunteers took part in the process leading to the publication during the Civil Society Consultation Meeting, held in November 2010. Viola Krebs, Founder and Director of ICV described this historic event as one of “paramount importance to the world of volunteering, and a great achievement for everyone involved.”

In 2001, celebrating the end of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001), 126 member states at the UN General Assembly formally acknowledged the importance and power of volunteering to promote cooperation, participation, and individual as well as social well-being. Together, they signed a resolution which offered recommendations to governments, UN agencies, NGOs and other actors on how to support and encourage volunteering.

Ten years later, this enormous step grants credit to the work and collaboration of a remarkable number of people. However, rather than a finishing toast, the publication serves as a stepping stone towards full recognition of the sector and even more active participation of all the stakeholders involved. Throughout these 10 years, research has been carried out which allows us to further comprehend the trend of volunteering. Despite the common consensus that volunteerism is universal, as there is no denying of its large scale and impact, its definition varies in different areas of the world, and the manner in which it is measured is still much disputed.

Countless developments to volunteerism, particularly in the way it is executed (online, corporate volunteerism, through ICTs, short or long term, etc.) complicate its assessment. However, in an ever changing world, the pillars of volunteerism, the values of solidarity and commitment, are comforting constants upon which we can continue to rely. The report admits that these core values behind volunteerism have been, and should continue to be, promoted as the driving force for the crucial adjustments we must make to our way of living, both as individuals, and equally as a society. Albeit this shift requires political steering, citizen participation will be a key component to adapt the consumption patterns that feed unsustainable production.

The principles of volunteerism are remarkably pertinent in increasing the competence of those exposed, vulnerable and weak so they can attain a safe and sustainable living situation as well as to improve their physical, financial, spiritual and social well-being. Furthermore, volunteering is able to decrease the disparities in society, such as poverty, segregation and exclusion.

To download the report:

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