What is UNV?
The United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) is the volunteer arm of the United Nations. Created by the UN General Assembly in 1970 to serve as an operational partner in development cooperation at the request of UN member states, it mobilizes qualified UN Volunteers and encourages people to become active in volunteering in their countries. It is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works through UNDP's country offices around the world.
What is UNV's mission?
Volunteering brings benefits to both society at large and the individual volunteer. It makes important contributions, economically as well as socially. It contributes to more cohesive societies by building trust and reciprocity among citizens. The United Nations Volunteers is the United Nations organization that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers. It serves the causes of peace and development through enhancing opportunities for participation by all peoples. It is universal, inclusive and embraces volunteer action in all its diversity. It values free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity, which are the foundations of volunteerism.
Who are the UN Volunteers?
Some 7,000 qualified and experienced women and men of nearly 160 nationalities serving each year in developing countries as UN Volunteers. Since 1971, some 30,000 UN Volunteers have worked in about 140 countries. Currently, nearly 70 per cent are citizens of developing countries while the remaining 30 per cent come from the industrialized world. See the Volunteer Statistics.
What do they do?
They work in technical cooperation with governments, with community-based initiatives, in humanitarian relief and rehabilitation and in support of human rights, electoral and peace-building processes. They are professionals who work on a peer basis. They listen and discuss; teach and train; encourage and facilitate. Volunteers also share and exchange ideas, skills and experience.
In which sectors do they work?
The UNV programme involves a wide spread of sectors: it maintains a roster covering 115 professional categories. Agriculture, health and education feature prominently, as do human rights promotion, information and communication technology, community development, vocational training, industry and population.
Where are they working?
Over the years, they have served in about 140 countries. Today 40 per cent are at work in Africa, 26 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, and 15 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe; the remainder are to be found in the Arab States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Thirty per cent serve in the world's poorest nations -- the least developed. Half work outside capital cities, frequently in remote towns and villages. This is in response to expressed needs, and it reflects the commitment which volunteers bring. Included here are the field workers serving at the grassroots level in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. These are practitioners with excellent track records in village-level community work; they exchange skills and knowledge among countries of those regions.
How does the programme operate?
It works in partnership with governments, UN Agencies, development banks and non-governmental and community-based organizations. The programmes within which UNV specialists serve are usually managed by governments; often there is technical input and supervision from one of the UN system's specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) or from the World Bank. At the request of some governments UNV itself acts as executing agent.
How is it funded?
Part of UNV's resources come from country and regional funds provided by UNDP. Other significant sources include the regular programme budgets of UN agencies, contributions from host governments, special purpose grants by donor governments, and the UNV Special Voluntary Fund. Contributions to UNV's Special Voluntary Fund and other funds exceed $17 million annually.
Based on the developing relationship between the UN and civil society actors, including NGOs, as well as recent developments in the modalities in which the UN interacts with civil society, such as special Hearings of the General Assembly, the 60th President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, asked Ambassador Johan L. Løvald of Norway and Ambassador Rezlan Ishar Jenie of Indonesia to serve as his special advisors on the relationship between Member States and representatives of civil society in the context of General Assembly affairs. This is the report of their findings and recommendations.
Response on Advisors' Report to the President of the 60th General Assembly on the Relationship between Member States and Non-Governmental Organizations 1 September 2006, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung/Global Policy Forum/Women's Environmental and Development Organisation (WEDO)/World Federalist Movement- Institute for Global Policy
In this statement, a group of NGOs responds to the recommendations of Ambassadors Johan Lovald of Norway and Rezlan Jenie of Indonesia for boosting NGO participation at the General Assembly (GA). The text reflects on past NGO contributions to the work of the UN, reiterates calls for regular status with the GA and also conveys reservations about the use of the Cardoso report as a "basis for policy." The NGOs request a formal and open process, instead of just hearings, to foster sustained dialogue between Member States and NGOs.
Official UN Secretariat relations with NGOs fall into two main categories: consultations with governments and information servicing by the Secretariat. These functions are the responsibility of two main offices of the UN Secretariat dealing with NGOs: the NGO Unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the NGO Section of the Department of Public Information. Formal interactions between NGOs and the UN are governed by the UN Charter and related resolutions of ECOSOC. In February 2003, the Secretary-General also appointed a High Level Panel of Eminent Persons to produce a practical set of recommendations as to how the UN's work with Civil Society could be improved. The final report of the Panel has been presented to the Secretary-General in June 2004.
Broadly speaking, NGOs may cooperate with the United Nations System in at least four ways:
1. NGOs may receive accreditation for a conference, summit or other event organized by the United Nations. Such accreditation is issued through the Secretariat preparing the event and expires upon completion of the event. It entitles NGOs to participate in the preparation process and in the event itself, thus contributing to its outcome. For a compilation of all legislation regarding NGO accreditation and participation in UN Conferences and Summits from 1990 - 2001, please click here.
2. NGOs may establish working relations with particular Departments, Programmes or Specialized Agencies of the United Nations System, based on shared fields of interest and potential for joint activities complementing the work of the United Nations office in a particular area. For a list of NGO Focal points throughout the UN System, please click here. The NGLS Handbook also provides a wealth of information on Civil Society engagement throughout the UN system.
3. International NGOs active in the field of economic and social development may seek to obtain consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). For requirements concerning consultative status with ECOSOC, please contact the ECOSOC NGO Section by clicking the link above.
4. NGOs that have at their disposal regular means of disseminating information, either through their publications, radio or television programmes, or through their public activities such as conferences, lectures, seminars or workshops, and that are willing to devote a portion of their information programmes to dissemination of information about the United Nations, may apply for association with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI). Please click here for additional information.
Whether affiliated with the United Nations system or not, NGOs can obtain United Nations public information materials from the United Nations Information Centres in countries of their operations (www.un.org/aroundworld/unics) . They can also access the UN information on the web at http://www.un.org/aroundworld/unics
Further information on the role of NGOs at the UN can be found on the Global Policy Forum website