Secretary-General's Message on International Volunteer Day (5 December 2015)

On this day we celebrate the power of volunteerism. Volunteering fosters creativity, draws strength from our passions and connects us to those who need us most.

Volunteerism is a global phenomenon that transcends boundaries, religions and cultural divides. Volunteers embody the fundamental values of commitment, inclusiveness, civic engagement and a sense of solidarity.

During the Ebola crisis in West Africa, community volunteers, international volunteers and United Nations Volunteers were crucial to the response.  A similar spirit of volunteerism and solidarity has been on display in addressing the current refugee crisis and this year’s devastating earthquake in Nepal.

The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals offer another opportunity for individuals to show solidarity through volunteerism. All of us can contribute to realizing the 2030 Agenda’s vision of ending poverty.

Today, on International Volunteer Day, I thank the more than 6,300 United Nations Volunteers and 11,000 United Nations Online Volunteers who help millions of people to make sustainable change and peace happen. I also commend and salute the one billion community volunteers worldwide.

As we mark International Volunteer Day, let us strive to make the most of the power of volunteerism to build a more sustainable world and a life of dignity for all.