International Volunteer Day 2014

Dec 3, 2014

  • Date and Time: 3-8 P.M.,5 December 2014 (Friday)
  • Venue: Conference Hall, 3rd Floor, UN House, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Organizing partners: Network of Mongolian Volunteer Organizations,World Vision Mongolia,United Nations Volunteers,United Nations Development Programme

The International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. The purpose of the IVD is to recognize the commitment of volunteers and volunteer organizations, to inform people about the impact of volunteering on peace and sustainable development, and to applaud volunteers for their dedication and impact. In particular, IVD 2014 recognizes and celebrates volunteerism, with a special focus on honoring people’s participation in making a difference at all levels: locally, nationally and globally.

On the occasion of IVD, Network of Mongolian Volunteer Organizations, World Vision Mongolia, United Nations Volunteers and United Nations Development Programme come together to commemorate the day with volunteer involving organizations and other stakeholders in Mongolia.  

It will be celebrated through organizing a Development Dialogue and announcing the Best Volunteer Awards of the year.

Development Dialogue 9: Volunteerism for Mongolia’s Development-Youth Engagement in Volunteering for Development

Context

Since 2012 UNDP Mongolia has organized 8 Development Dialogues, encompassing core themes related to the sustainable socio-economic development for Mongolia. This 9th Development Dialogue is held in recognition of the spirit of the IVD and to keep the momentum of the inspirational debates produced over the previous Dialogues. This time, the focus will be placed on discussing how youth engagement in volunteerism would contribute to the peace and development of Mongolia in a forward-looking manner. We will also look at what is required in creating an enabling environment to promote youth volunteerism in the country.

Volunteerism is increasingly recognized as a form of civic engagement and a vital delivery mechanism for social, economic and environmental transformation, ensuring a lasting impact with its ability to change people’s mindsets, attitudes and behaviors and thus contributing to social cohesion and societal well-being. In particular, volunteerism has an important role to play in harnessing the potential of young people, while fostering their inclusion in global peace and sustainable human development processes. For young people, engaging in voluntary work can be an opportunity to change the world for the better while learning new skills, gaining knowledge, learning about new cultures and better understanding the realities of development and peace building in the global community.

It is also true that although the capacities and willingness of young people are high, several barriers to youth volunteering exist varying from country to country. Common recognition of values of volunteering and tapping potentials of the youth into the socio-economic development of the country are not always as easy as told. The challenges include lack of access to information about volunteering and volunteering opportunities, and economic barriers. There is also a lack of strategic national policies and programmes for the effective promotion and management of volunteering. Last but not least, sustainable financing for volunteer involving organizations and their activities is also another challenging factor.

On the other hand, there are also several promising examples and endeavors to benchmark, which were initiated by different countries to utilize the values and wealth of youth volunteerism into the development of their nations. In recent years, there has been enhanced interest and demand to develop a national volunteer programme as well as the related policy and legislation in Mongolia, through active networking among volunteer organizations, research and public discussions, to name only a few. Mongolia needs to recapture the will and continue efforts to boost volunteerism, in particular through meaningful engagement of youth, which would be very much instrumental in realizing the Mongolia’s Comprehensive National Development Strategy for 2008-2021 as well as the strategic priorities of the UNDAF (United Nations Development Assistance Framework) 2012-2016.

Against this backdrop, benefits of volunteering as well as key success factors and innovative approaches in establishing the favorable infrastructure to catalyze youth volunteerism in the context of Mongolia will be debated during the proposed Development Dialogue. Addressing these issues and building on new opportunities will be critical to ensuring meaningful youth engagement for the peace and sustainable development of the country.

Issues for Discussion

The Dialogue is expected to raise key issues and recommendations to promote youth volunteerism in Mongolia, which will ultimately contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of Mongolia:

  • What would be core values of the youth engagement in volunteering, in particular in the context of Mongolia’s sustainable human development?
  • What would be effective approaches to share common understanding of volunteering and its benefits amongst the youth and key stakeholders in the society? 
  • What are challenges and opportunities for meaningful youth engagement for social changes through volunteerism in Mongolia?
  • What are requisites for establishing a favorable policy and regulatory framework to strengthen the role of youth in development of Mongolia through volunteerism?
  • How could volunteering activities and experiences of youth contribute to leadership and capacity development of young people?
  • What kind of partnerships are needed amongst different stakeholders of the society to promote youth volunteerism in a more innovative and productive manner? 

Dialogue structure

The Dialogue will be organized as a Panel Discussion answering the questions proposed above and sharing diverse perspectives through a facilitated interactive discourse. Panelists will be from among volunteer involving organizations, policy makers, youth groups, government ministries, academia, etc. to have wide national representation. The panel discussion will be followed by an open exchange of views among participants.

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