Sustainable Development Goals Call to Action

What are the SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that the United Nations member states have adopted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from September 25-27, 2015, on the 70th anniversary of the organization. It is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, seeking to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. All member countries and stakeholders are part of a collaborative partnership to implement the plan.

There is a total of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with 169 targets. It builds on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which  has the end target date of December 31, 2015. The SDGs will seek to complete what the MDGs have yet to achieve. The SDGs prompt action from all countries and stakeholders over the next fifteen years in the areas of people, planet, and prosperity.

Ensuring Volunteering Is Seen As A Strategic Resource To Achieve The Sustainable Development Goals

A Call to Action from the Board of Directors of IAVE – The International Association for Volunteer Effort

The United Nations is now engaged in a consultative process to develop a Post-2015 Development Agenda, with renewed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2015-2030.

IAVE – The International Association of Volunteer Effort believes that volunteering, in all of the myriad ways it happens throughout the world, must be seen as an essential strategic asset to achieve those goals.

As stated by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in December 2009: ‘Volunteerism is a source of community strength, resilience, solidarity and social cohesion. It brings positive social change by fostering respect for diversity, equality and the participation of all. It is among society’s most vital assets.”

As the only global network whose sole purpose is to promote, strengthen and celebrate volunteering throughout the world, IAVE calls on governments at all levels, NGOs and the business community to work together to ensure that volunteering and the role of volunteer groups are:

  • prominently included in all relevant United Nations resolutions and reports related to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the SDGs;
  • stated as an integral part of all global, national and local action plans supporting the SDGs, and included in any measurement and accountability mechanisms established to monitor progress achieving the SDGs; and
  • a priority for investment to strengthen and maximize the impact of volunteering as a form of civic engagement, which fosters a sense of responsibility for and connection with people and the planet.

This call is rooted in IAVE’s history and core philosophy. Created in 1970 by inspired volunteers throughout the world, IAVE was built on the premise that volunteering is a high-value way to address the world’s most pressing human, social, economic and environmental problems. It brings the skills, energy and commitment of individuals and their organizations into active engagement. It benefits the people, communities and causes that volunteers serve and is of enduring value to those who volunteer, helping them lead more productive, fulfilling and healthier lives.

Through the Universal Declaration on Volunteering, created and adopted by the IAVE Board of Directors in 1990 and revitalized in 2011, the global volunteer community was invited to join in realizing this vision of volunteering:

“Volunteering is a fundamental building block of civil society. It brings to life the noblest aspirations of humankind – the pursuit of peace, freedom, opportunity, safety and justice. Volunteering, either through individual or group action, is a way in which:

  • Human values of community, caring and serving can be sustained and strengthened;
  • Individuals can exercise their rights and responsibilities as members of communities, while learning and growing 
throughout their lives, realizing their full human potential; and
  • Connections can be made across differences that push us apart so that we can live together in healthy, sustainable 
communities, working together to provide innovative solutions to our shared challenges and to shape our collective destinies.”

We invite our colleagues in all sectors to endorse this Call to Action and take positive, collaborative action to achieve this recognition of volunteering as critical to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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