Africa: UN Establishes Trust Fund to Support Youth Volunteerism

New York and Bonn — A dedicated trust fund has been set up by the United Nations to boost youth volunteerism and harness the energy of young people around the world to contribute to achieving development goals while enhancing their own lives.

Announced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the new youth trust fund is an important milestone in developing the inspirational UN Youth Volunteers Programme.

The announcement comes on the first anniversary of the launch by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his Five-Year Action Agenda which includes a specific measure to "create a UN youth volunteers programme under the umbrella of UN Volunteers."

Long-supported by the UN system, volunteerism is widely recognized as a powerful means of transforming the pace and nature of development and draws upon the inherent core values of self-help, solidarity and social cohesion.

"Through volunteering, young people gain a strong sense of civic engagement to bring about transformational change in their communities," UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said.

"Youth participation and volunteering are critical for achieving sustainable human development and UNDP will continue to attach high importance to the youth agenda, including through the UN Youth Volunteers Programme," Helen Clark said.

The trust fund will provide the financial basis for the further design and implementation of the youth volunteering modality, which is expected to be launched later this year and will ultimately each year involve thousands of young people supporting peace and development activities worldwide.

It will also enable UNV to support youth volunteering initiatives which directly enhance the engagement of youth in voluntary activities and strengthen the capacity of governments to develop their own national and regional youth volunteer schemes.

"We are looking for an initial contribution of at least five million dollars for the design and roll out of the programme including the youth volunteer modality. In this regard, we welcome the commitment of 1.5 million dollars from the Government of Germany as the first to support youth volunteering through the trust fund. We look forward to building on further support from other development partners as the programme expands and will require more financial resources. This will enable us to reach as many youth around the world as possible", said UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus.

As part of its ongoing support to youth volunteering, UNV is currently deploying 87 international youth volunteers to 50 developing countries. This initiative is supported by the governments of Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland and with foundations or universities in the Republic of Korea, Japan and Spain and it calls on other donors to join the trust fund.

On this occasion, UNDP and UNV have also congratulated the Secretary-General's newly appointed Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhindawi of Jordan. UNV and UNDP look forward to engaging with Mr Alhindawi in his new capacity to advance the youth agenda globally.

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