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International Volunteer Day


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).

The International Volunteer Day is marked by many non-governmental organizations, including Red Cross, scouts and others. It is also marked and supported by United Nations Volunteers.

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.

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.


"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


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