A Global Technical Meeting (GTM2020) on ‘Reimagining Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda’ will take place virtually in July 2020 to provide a platform to advance the discussions and debates on volunteering for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and jointly shape the future of volunteering. More than 400 representatives from governments, UN entities, civil society including academia, volunteer groups and the private sector are expected to attend the event.

Based on the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/73/140 titled ‘Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda’, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are jointly organizing the GTM2020 as a special event during the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2020.

The meeting was called for in the Plan of Action to Integrate Volunteering into the 2030 Agenda, proposed by the UN Secretary-General in 2015, at the request of the General Assembly in 2012. Under the facilitation and coordination by the Plan of Action Secretariat, a series of activities took place over the past three years, including National Situation Analyses by UN Member States, which fed into five regional synthesis reports. Based on these reports, regional consultations were held on the margins of the UN-facilitated Regional Fora on Sustainable Development. These consultations provided substantive evidence and data to feed into the GTM2020 debate.  In addition, several thousand people from all over the world shared their views and ideas through online consultations on reimagining volunteering.


About Reimagining Volunteering

The GTM2020 will take place at a critical juncture in the 2030 Agenda: Five years following the adoption of the SDGs, development actors are both looking at lessons learnt, and looking forward to how SDG targets can be achieved over the next ten years. Across the globe, many UN Member States and other stakeholders have included volunteering in their steps to achieve the SDGs by 2030. However, progress has been mixed and much work remains to be done. For example, while extreme poverty has declined considerably, other goals such as on climate and zero hunger need urgent collective action.

The meeting will also take place at a time of rapidly evolving social, environmental, economic and political mega trends that bring new risks and create new opportunities. Against a backdrop of global change, volunteering can be a powerful means to engage people to ensure that global sustainable development efforts are for the people and owned by the people.

Through reimagining volunteering, the meeting aims to strengthen recognition and support of volunteering and the role it can play in achieving the SDGs. It is also expected to advance the debate on volunteering for the SDGs based on new and existing evidence and provide a platform for the exchange of good practices, new knowledge products, innovative ideas and lessons learnt.


Evidence Base and Themes

The technical content of the meeting will be shaped by four cross-sectoral and integrated themes, which will provide evidence and content to inform the discussion and debates on ‘Reimagining Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda.’ The themes and key questions being addressed are as follows:

  1. Mapping Trends and Evidence on Volunteering for the SDGs: What are the trends and evidence on how volunteering has contributed to the first cycle of the SDGs (2016-2020) and what examples are there of good practices?  
  2. Volunteering as SDG Accelerator:  What are the distinctive characteristics of volunteering that can make it a transformative force to accelerate SDG progress and ensure that no one is left behind?   
  3. Next-generation Volunteering Support: What does the volunteering of the future look like and what are the innovative models or prototypes that support a next generation or ‘reimagined’ volunteering?
  4. Measuring Volunteering for the SDGs: What are the different approaches to measuring the number of volunteers and the scale and scope of the contributions that volunteering makes to SDG implementation?

The expected outcome of the GTM2020 will be a Call to Action by the global volunteering community urging all stakeholders to take action to further strengthen the integration of volunteering into the implementation of the SDGs in the Decade of Action. 

On the path to 2030 and during the Decade of Action, UNV, IFRC and partners will continue to promote volunteering in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, building on the key findings of the GTM2020.