International Volunteer Day at the UN
Burkina Faso — Uniterra
On December 5, 2014, I had the privilege of attending a meeting in the the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber : Corporate Volunteering Marking Change Happen for Sustainable Development. The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) was invited to make a presentation to the meeting, represented by its Chairman, Chris Eaton (who is also the Executive Director of WUSC). Chris moderated a discussion between me , Uniterra Leave for Change volunteer in 2009 and currently a CECI/Uniterra volunteer legal counsel with the Alliance des Fournisseurs Burkinabè de Biens et Services Miniers (ABSM) in Ouagadougou, and Anders Pettersen, head of Hydro Power for Multiconsult AS and FK Norway corporate volunteer in 2011/2012. Anders and I outlined our experiences as corporate volunteers and discussed with Chris some best practices for the corporate sponsor and organizing NGO.
UN Volunteers hosted the meeting. Other participants and their corporate partners included: the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE), Points of Light, and New York Cares. A new organization focused on corporate volunteering and the advancement of the post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda was launched: IMPACT 2030. Three of its founding members (The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, IBM Corporation and UPS Foundation) made presentations.
The three hour meeting was heavily weighted toward (US) domestic volunteering presented by large corporations so it was a privilege for CECI to represent international development volunteers.
Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning, closed the meeting. An inspiring speaker, Ms. Mohammed recognized the importance of volunteers and noted that the Secretary General had made a significant reference to volunteers in his December 4, 2014 report on the Post-2015 agenda:
“As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root, volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation. Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals. And volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction between governments and people for concrete and scalable actions.”