Note to Correspondents

Note No 5670
6 June 2001


NEW YORK, 6 June (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme today will be releasing a new publication drawing attention to the importance of volunteer work in developing cities and towns, and outlining UNV's approach to urban development.

The publication, "Caring Cities: Volunteerism in Urban Development and the Role of the United Nations Volunteers Programme", will be released in New York to coincide with this week's Istanbul + 5 special session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"The book is full of concrete examples of the United Nations Volunteers programme at work in urban development", said UNV Executive Coordinator Sharon Capeling-Alakija. "It shows that UNV is delivering as a committed and ongoing partner in implementing the Habitat Agenda."

Shortly after the Istanbul meeting in 1996, UNV -- the volunteer arm of the United Nations system -- launched its Strategy 2000, which identified urban development as one of its priority areas. During the past five years, hundreds of Volunteers have served in cities to promote better living conditions, assisted local communities in taking charge of their own development initiatives and trained municipal leaders. They have worked with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and a number of other agencies.

The publication is divided into two main parts: volunteerism and UNV. The first part focuses on the importance of volunteerism in urban development. It starts with an introduction to urban problems, followed by a detailed analysis of volunteerism in this context. The second part begins with an introduction to UNV, followed by the general features of its urban operations. Subsequently, it provides a detailed view of the UNV response to urban problems, with illustrations. The publication concludes with thoughts on the achievements of UNV, and on the consolidation of its urban agenda, most notably during this, the International Year of Volunteers (2001).

Copies of the publication will be distributed during today's parallel session on Volunteerism and Urban Development from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) is the volunteer arm of the United Nations system. It extends hands-on assistance for peace and development in nearly 150 countries. Created by the General Assembly in 1970 and administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNV works through UNDP-country offices to send volunteers –- two thirds of them from developing countries -- and promote the ideals of volunteerism around the world. United Nations Volunteers have extensive experience in 115 professional fields. The UNV is the United Nations-designated focal point for the International Year of Volunteers 2001. It is also the facilitating and coordinating agency for the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS --, and manages the online volunteering service provided on the Web site (

For further information, please contact: Edmundo Werna, United Nations Volunteers; e-mail:; and/or Yuko Osawa, Representation Office in North America, United Nations Volunteers; e-mail:; tel: 212-906-3634/917-834-5351; Richard Nyberg, United Nations Volunteers; e-mail: