Annual Meeting of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board: Remarks on UN Volunteers by Ambassador Berger

Jun 12, 2013

(Statement on UN Volunteers, as delivered by Ambassador Miguel Berger, Deputy Permanent Representative, at the Annual Meeting of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board )

"President, 

Madame Associate Administrator, Members of the Executive Board, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

We would like to thank the Associate Administrator for her presentation of the Report on the evolution of the role and function of UNV since its inception. 

As the host country of UN Volunteers programme (UNV), we would also like to use this opportunity to congratulate the new Executive Coordinator of UNV, Mr. Richard Dictus, on his appointment. We are pleased to see the experience, the energy and the vision he is bringing with him to his new position and look forward to a close cooperation and partnership in the coming years. 

We would also like to reiterate our gratefulness to the former Executive Coordinator, Ms Flavia Pansieri, for what she has achieved for and as part of UNV. 

President, 

As the host nation for and biggest financial contributor to UNV we note with appreciation the great evolution of the role and function of UNV since its foundation in 1970. 

From a mostly reactive organization which provided volunteers on the basis of a request of partner organisations, UNV has developed into a proactive program. UNV has not only been mobilizing up to 8000 volunteers annually over the last five years, but also responded actively and successfully to the request to take on a role of global leader on volunteering for peace and sustainable development. 

We take note of the fact that subsequent resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and decisions from the UNDP Executive Board over the last fifteen years have provided UNV with a significantly broadened mandate. And we welcome the fact that UNV has successfully responded to these intergovernmental requests and delivered on the mandates given to it. 

As a result, UNV has positioned itself at the forefront of advocacy and outreach for volunteerism worldwide. UNV has also taken on the task of providing support to activities of the UN System in the area of peace building. 

Furthermore new initiatives in the area of volunteering, such as the UNV Online Volunteering Service and several youth-focused programmes, have been successfully developed by UNV and contributed to a diversification of the concept and modes of volunteering. 

UNV facilitates South-South exchanges and opens many perspectives for global citizens to support and engage in UN activities for peace and development in particular at the community level. 

President, 

We also think that the report provides a solid basis for discussing and determining future strategic directions for UNV. We highly welcome in this regard UNV’s proposal of developing a strategic framework for theorganisation which would outline policy approaches, challenges, goals and priorities for the coming four years. 

We think that such a framework needs to be well-structured and tightly focused.It should allow to demonstrate and measure how UNV contributes to the promotion of sustainable development through its services and leadership in the area of volunteerism. 

It is fundamental that this strategic framework is accompanied by a concrete results and resources matrix. The matrix would underline UNV’s commitment to result orientation and set realistic targets and indicators to measure and substantiate the work and impact of UNV. It is important in this regard that programme targets describe the desired impact and not only organizational outputs. 

We are convinced that volunteers, with their expertise and dedication, play an indispensable role to make things happen on the ground and encourage UNV to formulate ambitious goals that demonstrate the difference UNV is making and the transformational effect it has, both within the UN System and in the partner countries. 

President, 

We welcome the leadership of UNV in developing and promoting a youth volunteer programme in the context of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action Agenda. UNV has been engaging with youth-led networks, international volunteer sending organizations, international and national civil society and volunteering organizations, and UN agencies to develop the UN Youth Volunteers Programme. 

Germany is contributing 1,2 Million Euros to the UNDP/UNV Youth Volunteer Trust Fund and we encourage others to support the Trust Fund as well. We are furthermore financially supporting the UNV “Arab Youth Volunteering Programme for a Better Future”, which is being implemented in five countries. 

President, 

Germany is honored to host the UN Volunteers Programme in Bonn since 1996. In Bonn, UNV is housed at the UN Campus on the Banks of the river Rhine. The handing over in 2006 of office premises in a building which was previously being used by the German Parliament was a special pleasure. 

Bonn is rapidly developing into a major hub within the UN system for the burning questions of sustainability. Germany continues to add new facilities to the growing UN campus in Bonn

With a nearly constant number of staff of about 150 in Bonn, UNV has been able to respond successfully to the increased mandate and responsibilities entrusted to the organization, as outlined in the report of the Administrator. 

Thank you, President."

© GermanyUN