Information
  • Lead-organizer: United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
  • 19:00 - 20:30
  • Date: 21 Jun 2012
  • Room: T-6

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VOLUNTEER ACTION COUNTS: THE POWER OF VOLUNTEERISM FOR SD

Organizing partners

VOLUNTEER ACTION COUNTS: THE POWER OF VOLUNTEERISM FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme organizes the side-event in partnership with:
? The Brazilian National Coordinating Committee
? UNDP Brazil Country Office
? Navdanya
? Zerofootprint
? IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements)
? Stakeholder Forum

Introduction

VOLUNTEER ACTION COUNTS: THE POWER OF VOLUNTEERISM FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Volunteerism is an essential ingredient in the recipe for sustainable development. In the same way as sustainable development is a cross-cutting theme, UNV?s partnerships for Rio+20 are cross-cutting. Building on the global partnerships developed during the International Year of Volunteers + 10, UNV will bring together partners from different organizations, backgrounds and fields: UN Agencies, governments, private sector, academia, NGOs ? from the global North and South ? to speak about citizen participation in making sustainable development for future generations a reality. In its side-event, UNV and partners will provide good practice examples from several countries from the South as well as present the results of the multi-media campaign ?VolunteerActionCounts?. UNV will also stress that sustainable development is more than a political decision and will depend on an adequate operational infrastructure; including volunteers implementing sustainable development activities.

Detailed programme

CORE STATEMENT: VOLUNTEERISM FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS HAPPENING.

CONCEPTUAL APPROACH FOR UNV SIDE-EVENT:
Today is yesterday?s future and ?the future we want? does not start tomorrow - it is built today. In achieving ?the future we want? volunteer action counts and civic action for sustainable development cannot be postponed by making it a matter of tomorrow but it needs to be understood as part of our immediate reality. Sustainable development is rooted in our present and finds its expression in the multiple voluntary actions of individuals all over the world. As outlined in the final declaration of the 64th UN DPI/NGO Conference SUSTAINABLE SOCIETIES: RESPONSIVE CITIZENS: ?We are convinced that our planet and the human-earth community will only survive, thrive and prosper by a shift to an economy that is sustainable and equitable, and focused on the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty through the actions of responsive citizens and volunteerism?.

Building on the global activities and partnerships developed during the International Year of Volunteers + 10 (IYV+10) and the launch of the State of the World?s Volunteerism Report (SWVR), UNV will organize a side-event at Rio+20 to underline that sustainable development is already happening and needs to be strengthened: many people participate in sustainable development and its social, economic and environmental transformation processes.

UNV and its partners will present evidence that demonstrates the value of volunteering and peoples? participation for sustainable development. To illustrate this, we will provide good practices from developing countries and present the results of the multi-media campaign ?Volunteer Action Counts?. UNV will also stress that sustainable development also depends on having in place adequate operational infrastructure at the national level?including volunteers implementing sustainable development activities. In this context, UNV will show that volunteers and responsive citizens are indispensable to implement operational activities for sustainable development on the ground.

SIDE EVENT FORMAT AND LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION:
As sustainable development needs the integration of a bottom-up and top-down approach ? in other words its needs support on the policy and institutional level as well as support from the ground ? UNV will invite and select speakers that represent and bring together both levels. The side event will start with a high level keynote speech which sets the scene for the presentations of examples of civic action for sustainable development and for a structured debate between the speakers/ panelists and the audience.

THE SPEAKERS WILL BE THE FOLLOWING:
- A representative of the Brazilian National Coordinating Committee that will present the experience of 1,500 community and university volunteers that support the Rio+20 Conference.

- Dr. Vandana Shiva (Navdanya) will elaborate on the topics of community engagement and volunteering for sustainable development. Dr. Shiva is called one of the five ?Heroes of the Green Century? by the Time Magazine.

- Dr. Flavia Pansieri, UNV Executive Coordinator together with Stakeholder Forum, Zero Footprint and other supporting organizations, will be presenting the results of the ?VolunteerActionCounts?. The campaign demonstrates the impact tens of thousands of volunteers world-wide make in achieving sustainable development.

- Mr. Ron S. Dembo, the Founder and CEO of Zerofootprint , a clean-tech software company, partner in the VolunteerActionCounts campaign, whose mission is to apply technology, design and risk management to the massive reduction of our environmental footprint.

- The UN Volunteer winner of the UNV Good Practice Contest ?Volunteering Matters for Sustainable Development?

- The UNRC and UNDP RR Mr. Jorge Chediek together with a community representative will present an example of a UNDP supported Brazilian sustainable development project showing strong people ?centered development results.

- Mr. Markus Arbenz, Executive Director of IFOAM will present how volunteering played an important role in the historical construction of IFOAM.

METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH FOR UNV SIDE EVENTS: PARTICIPATION AND PARTNERSHIPS:
With the view to actively explore how sustainable development is already happening, UNV will adopt a participatory methodology for the side event. The facilitator of the side event will break the core statement ?Volunteerism for Sustainable Development is happening? into three provocative sub-questions to activate the debate and create interest in discussing various examples of civic action for sustainable development.

POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE OUTCOME OF UNCSD/RIO+20:
The aim of the side event is to initiate and strengthen partnerships and actions for sustainable development that can be followed-up on after the Rio+20 Conference. These actions will be fed into broader action-based debates on the post 2015 development agenda.

UNV?s contribution to follow up for Rio+20 is the ?Volunteer Action Counts? website that will be a database for engagement of volunteers from all over the world that actively contribute to sustainable development. UNV will continue to work with partners to further develop this website after Rio+20 to provide an opportunity for volunteers to continue to be engaged in the Rio+20 implementation, make commitments, log their actions and measure results.
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