Volunteerism as a ‘Renewable Resource to Reach the Sustainable Development Goals’

unvThis year UNDP’s Istanbul Development Dialogues (IDD) which is now a global forum where policy makers, activists, business people and experts discourse current topics of our time, took place on 27-28 May 2019. The event was opened by the speech of Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. He inspired the audience by saying that; “The only thing we need to realize is that we have no time for business as usual. We need courage, we need leadership, we need innovation, we need entrepreneurship”.

During the first day of IDD 2019, the important role of public finance in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been touched upon. Experts from different areas shared their own ideas, concerns and proposals on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.

On the second day, UNV Turkey Programme Analyst, Ms. Nil Memişoğlu attended the Partner’s Forum as a panelist and presented the “Citizen contributions to the SDGs through volunteering”. Ms. Memişoğlu shared that Volunteria is the 5th largest country in the world as a workforce with a population of 109 million based on the State of World Volunteerism Report(SWVR) data. She highlighted that many of the volunteer activities are more costly when conducted by the government. Therefore, since the cost of volunteer activities is lower, their contribution to social, economic and human development goals, is high. Through the power of volunteerism ‘as a renewable resource’, the reachability of SDGs has been supported by the innovative solutions and evidences.

A great attention has been attracted by the registered volunteer activities in Turkey with a ratio of %7.9. It is explained by the fact that there is a lack of harmonized approach to the definition of volunteerism and volunteer work has been carried out informally meaning that the volunteers are not registered to any NGOs. UNV and ILO collaboration for the values and opportunities for integrating measurement of volunteerism by modelling 2011 ILO manual and questionnaire on measuring the volunteer work, has been announced. Nil Memişoğlu also emphasized on the fact that the impact of volunteerism for SDGs is undeniable, however the measurement tools are needed to be improved in order to understand clearly the value of volunteer work for the economy.