Press Releases

    28 November 2002


    NEW YORK, 27 November (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in observance of International Volunteer Day -- 5 December:

    Over the past several years, volunteerism has emerged as an increasingly potent unifying force. Volunteers from all walks of life are playing a significant role in the development process. Volunteering is providing a much-needed vehicle for people to participate in the lives of their societies, especially vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as elderly persons or people with disabilities. And, as a result of the International Year of Volunteers (2001), volunteers themselves are expanding their networks, improving their ability to learn from and support each other’s efforts.

    The International Year succeeded in raising the global profile of volunteerism. More than 120 national committees were formed, complemented by scores of local and regional committees. The official Web site received some 9 million "hits". And important steps were taken to measure volunteer contributions; to create legislative frameworks for volunteering; to establish the infrastructure needed to support volunteerism; and to forge more effective partnerships among governments, the United Nations system, civil society, the private sector, the media and other actors.

    I hope the global community will do its utmost to ensure that the legacy of the International Year is a world where more and more citizens across the social spectrum are willing and able to volunteer in ways that bring benefits to society and a sense of true fulfilment to the individual volunteer. If we are to achieve the goals set out in the Millennium Declaration, harnessing this potential will be crucial. On this International Volunteer Day, I encourage everyone to join together as volunteers in support of human progress and well-being.

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