UNV Mission

UNV works under a dual mandate – to mobilize volunteers for the United Nations System and to advocate for the importance of volunteerism in development worldwide.

1. Mobilize Volunteers

UNV mobilize volunteers to serve in UN agencies, both in development programmes and peacekeeping operations.

Over nearly five decades, the scope of UNV’s mandate has expanded, driven by a constantly changing global environment and wider recognition of the value of volunteerism. A series of UN decisions now direct UNV activities and results to also focus on youth engagement and on demonstrating how integrating volunteering in peace and development projects and programmes can widen and deepen impact.

Changes in the development paradigm over the years also created a shift from international technical cooperation towards greater support for national and home-grown solutions, achieved by strengthening national and local capacities. Likewise, the growing vulnerability of communities due to exposure to recurrent natural disasters and conflict has demanded a much more robust humanitarian intervention globally. These trends are reflected UNV volunteer mobilization and programming for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and peacekeeping.


UNV and development assistance

Development assistance means enabling people to improve their lives in the long term. Development aid strives to address the underlying issues and socio-economic factors that impede human progress.

All around the world, UN Volunteers help people lead more productive and fulfilling lives, such as through their work on projects in quality education and improved healthcare, or by ensuring equitable access to community resources and sustainable practices. UN Volunteers at times also work with governments and other local partners, helping to boost local capacity and augment knowledge.


UNV and peacekeeping operations

Humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping represent some of the United Nation’s greatest and toughest field operations and responsibilities.

UN Volunteers are frequently at the forefront of United Nations humanitarian and peacekeeping operations because of their skills and expertise, but also because of the commitment they bring to peace and recovery processes. As non-threatening global citizens, UN Volunteers greatly facilitate the building of bridges between various groups by promoting dialogue and fostering situations of confidence and trust.


2. Promote Volunteerism

UNV promote volunteerism to push for the ability and right of people to participate in their own development.

UNV and its volunteers have unparalleled relevance in the age of the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda calls for leaving no one behind and recognizes that traditional means of implementation are not enough and must be complemented by actions that deepen impact and widen reach. UNV’s volunteer modalities and its initiatives expand development opportunities.

UN Volunteers raise awareness about the 2030 Agenda among the constituencies with which they work. Like they did with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN Volunteers organize local campaigns and devise creative approaches for SDG achievement, particularly in remote areas and among marginalized populations, such as women and youth.

UN Volunteers dedicate their services and energy to achieving development targets. They bring skills and they build skills. UN Volunteers facilitate knowledge sharing and transfer, while leveraging local expertise. UN Volunteers will help monitor SDG progress using citizen-driven qualitative and quantitative data collection. The model behaviour of volunteers inspires others to strive for the SDGs locally.

UNDP Around the world