Press Releases

         2 December 2004

    Universality Is Strength of Volunteerism, Secretary-General Says in Message to Mark International Volunteer Day

    NEW YORK, 1 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on International Volunteer Day, observed on 5 December 2004:

    If the world is to make progress in implementing the Millennium Declaration and move decisively towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it will need people everywhere to be involved. Volunteerism continues to be a powerful and productive channel for that engagement.

    Volunteering on the ground in communities, or online at home, enables ordinary people to perform extraordinary tasks. Such contributions are vital, whether one is working to eradicate poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy, or struggling to protect the global environment and safeguard women against discrimination and violence.

    The strength of volunteerism is its universality -- the countless acts of solidarity and assistance that take place every day, in developed and developing countries alike. There is no right or wrong way to volunteer. All that is needed is a willingness to share time, a skill or a good idea.

    On this International Volunteer Day, I call on governments and civil society to create more opportunities for people to volunteer. And let us all recognize the integral role of volunteers in the development process, and the tremendous contributions that the power of volunteerism makes to building a safer, more sustainable future.

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