Statement of the Asia-Pacific Group
Delivered by H. E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda Item 27 (b): Meetings devoted to follow-up to the International Year of Volunteers and the commemoration of its tenth anniversary
Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly
5 December 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Asia-Pacific Group, I am honored and pleased to address the General Assembly on the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers. We greatly appreciate the participation of the Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, the UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark as well as the UNV Executive Coordinator, Ms. Flavia Pansieri.
Brazil and Japan submitted a draft resolution titled “Tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers” to the Third Committee at this session, which aims to emphasize the importance of volunteerism and to encourage further volunteering. The draft resolution was adopted by consensus in both the Third Committee and today in the General Assembly with the support of 97 co-sponsors. We expect today’s meeting to follow-up on the progress made since the International Year in 2001 and to further the promotion of volunteerism.
The aim of the International Year of Volunteers in 2001 proposed by Japan is for Governments, the UN system, and civil society to collaborate and identify ways of enhancing the recognition, facilitation, networking and promotion of volunteer activities.
Ten years have passed since the International Year. Volunteerism has certainly grown and developed among us. We reaffirm that many volunteers have played an active role in areas such as poverty reduction, health, sustainable development and disaster prevention and recovery around the world.
In the resolution adopted in the General Assembly today, the contributions from national and international volunteers were commended for their role in disaster prevention and recovery in many parts of the world, such as the mass landslides and floods in south-eastern Brazil and the devastating earthquake that struck eastern Japan.
In the Asia-Pacific region, volunteerism is recognized as one of the most important pursuits in society. Governments have made efforts in order to encourage volunteering and to support each person’s access to volunteer activities. Private sectors promote these goals by giving employees opportunities for volunteering.
We welcome the work of the United Nations Volunteers, which has engaged in the promotion of volunteering in collaboration with Member States and has been the focal point for the International Year in 2001 and its tenth anniversary. In this regard, we appreciate its efforts in co-hosting regional consultations and the global volunteer conferences for the tenth anniversary this year. We expect that the UNV will contribute to the further promotion of volunteering. At the same time, we welcome the launch of the first world volunteerism report by UNV here today.
Volunteerism is an important activity in the strengthening of people-to-people relations. Participation in volunteer activities and the generous spirit inherent to volunteerism can create solidarity in a society. Such activities should be promoted by the international community from a viewpoint of social integration.
It is also important to create a supportive environment for volunteers and to enhance their security and protection.
Finally, we would like to stress the importance of discussion in the coming decade and beyond at this meeting. In this regard, it is crucial to exchange our views on the peace and development to which volunteers can contribute, especially in the fields of peacebuilding and disaster prevention and management. Moreover, we should discuss engagement in volunteering and the leadership of youth in such areas. We expect such discussions to be included in recommendations of a report by the Secretary-General which will be submitted at the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly.
Thank you, Mr. President.