MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERALINTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT - 5 December 2022
On International Volunteer Day, we honour the commitment and contributions of volunteers towards building fairer societies and a healthier planet. Through their selfless service, volunteers show the best of humanity. They are true champions of our work to advance peace, sustainable development, and human rights. And their spirit of giving enriches all. This year’s theme – “Solidarity through Volunteering” – highlights the importance of coming together to care for one another. It is a reminder that everyone has a role to play. Wherever you live, whatever your skills, I urge you to take action. Volunteer your time. Volunteer your talent. Volunteer your experience. Today and every day, let us take inspiration from all those who, through acts of solidarity large and small, improve our world. And let us resolve to do our part to forge a better future for all.
UNIC Newsletter had an interview with Mr. David Greesly on the occasion of International Volunteer Day
Q: How does the UNV programme support United Nations operations in Yemen?
A: It is no exaggeration to say that UN Volunteers play a critical role in the United Nations’ Yemen operations. UNVs volunteer throughout the UN system in Yemen. They work in the north and the south. Theysupport one of the largest humanitarian operations in the world. They are professionals that help make the UN’s development, political, human rights and gender work possible. Every day, UN Volunteers’ commitment to the communities in Yemen they serve improves the lives of children, women and men. National and international volunteers deploy in Yemen on short notice with the required skills, expertise, and motivation.
When COVID-19 struck two years ago, 55 UNV doctors and nurses deployed to UN clinics in seven cities. Twenty UN volunteers have deployed to monitor human rights across the country. UN Volunteers are selfless and, frankly, don’t often get the credit they deserve. That is why marking International Volunteer Day is so important. I encourage everyone inside and outside the United Nations to recognize volunteers’ dedication and contributions to improving the lives of people in Yemen. I am extremely thankful for every one of the 155 men and women volunteering in Yemen this year, most of whom are themselves Yemeni. They volunteer
under difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions in solidarity with the people of the communities most affected by crisis. We should all recognize them as a beacon of hope and a testament to resilience.
Q: Is it true you began your career as a volunteer?
A: Yes. I was a Peace Corps volunteer. That experience – of volunteering in Kenya in the 1970s – was amazingly rewarding. It reinforced for me the importance of working closely with communities to understand their needs, something that has stayed with me throughout my long UN career. My great aunt and uncle were also among the first Peace Corps volunteers in 1962. They were retirees, who served in India as rural extension workers.So, I strongly recommend volunteer work for everyone, but especially for highly motivated professionals like the UNVs we have in Yemen who have so much to give. I would be remiss if I did not mention the availability of online
UNV volunteers, who are available to serve at no cost to the UN, Governments and non-governmental organizations. The online platform provides opportunities for 600,000 people around the globe who possess a wide
range of expertise to volunteer their services online.
Q: Can you tell us more about International Volunteer Day?
A: International Volunteer Day honours the commitment and contributions of volunteers towards uilding fairer societies and a healthier planet. The theme this year is “solidarity through volunteering,” which highlights the mportance of coming together to care for one another. Reflecting on the spirit of UN volunteerism this year, I am also reminded of the three things Yemen needs most of all: peace, peace and peace. I continue so support the efforts to restart and expand the truce in Yemen, as well as the eventual movement towards a ceasefire and eventual settlement. When that comes, I know that UNVs will continue to stand in solidarity with Yemen’s people to forge a better future.