to Parallel Session
VOLUNTEERISM AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium,
06 June 2001
1:15 - 2:45 PM
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme has pleasure
to invite you and your delegation to the Istanbul + 5 parallel
session on Volunteerism and Urban Development.
panel of speakers consists of representatives from different
types of organization -grassroots groups, the NGO sector,
academia, the government, the donors and the UN system.
Together they will provide a vision of the theme from different
representatives from Slum Dwellers International; Habitat
International Coalition; the programme 'Solidary Community'
of the Government of Brazil; United Nations Research Institute
for Social Development; United Nations Volunteers Programme;
the German Ministry for Co-operation; University of Sao
Paulo (list of speakers to be confirmed and finalized before
Istanbul + 5).
to be addressed by the panel and discussed during the session:
Experiences from the field highlighting innovative aspects
of volunteerism in urban development
through which the role of volunteerism in urban development
can be further recognized, supported and ultimately enhanced.
for governments, donors and other stakeholders. · Mechanisms
to enhance the contacts among the participants of the
session as well as other people with an interest in volunteerism
and urban development.
Overview of Collaborations;
Comments from Floor;
UNV, Edmundo Werna, Urban Development Specialist, email@example.com
UNV's publication CARING CITIES
(Volunteerism in Urban Development and
the Role of UNV) will be launched and copies will
be distributed during the session.
is a strong linkage between volunteerism and the development
of human settlements. Volunteerism makes an important economic
contribution to such settlements, as it is closely related
to the formation of social capital. Several recent studies
have pointed to a link between social capital and economic
advance in many localities. In addition, volunteers complement
the role of local authorities by extending outreach coverage.
At the urban grassroots, survival many times depends on the
work of self-help voluntary groups, which are also instrumental
to the construction of local governance processes. In its
turn, the preservation of the cultural heritage of the human
settlements largely depends upon voluntary actions of individuals
and groups - e.g. preservation within one's private property;
care with the public spaces and buildings; collective efforts
to restore endangered monuments and intangible assets, etc.
These are attitudes which cannot be 'bought and sold' in the
private market; they are fundamentally based on voluntary/free
will. Volunteerism also plays a very important role in helping
to address the issue of unoccupied youth and related behaviours
such as drug-taking and violence, bearing in mind that such
types of problem are often among the priorities of local authorities.
Volunteer activities help the youth to meet new friends; learn
new skills; gain in confidence, self-respect and personal
satisfaction, which have positive implications for their behaviour
in the cities as well as for their future prospects in life.
above facts have led to the inclusion of a paragraph on volunteerism
in the draft declaration prepared during the II PrepCom for
Istanbul + 5 (HS/C/PC.2/3/Rev.1) (paragraph # 40). The strong
relationship between volunteerism and human settlements has
led the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme to choose
urban development as one of its priorities for action. UNV
also has a solid track-record of collaboration with UNCHS
(Habitat). Throughout the years it has mobilized hundreds
of UN Volunteers to work with UNCHS in the field. It has provided
the volunteer component to many projects, therefore further
demonstrating the value-added of volunteerism in activities
related to human settlements.
of the above evidence, volunteerism is still an underutilized
asset in development. Therefore, this parallel session will
be an opportunity to discuss ways to enhance the role of volunteerism
in urban development, to discuss recommendations to governments,
donors and other stakeholders; and also to think about ways
to enhance and maintain the contacts among the participants
as well as other people with an interest in the subject of