Res. Rep. Walid Badawi at the 2022 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report Launch

Honourable Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia,

UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Stephen Jackson,

Fellow UN agency Representatives,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished guests and volunteers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we are launching a flagship publication of the UN Volunteer programme – the 2022 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report. This Report is significant and timely because it critically highlights some of the key impediments to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Report provides key recommendations that can guide policymakers to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build societies founded on inclusion and equality.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 - a global compact to create a future where nobody is left behind. Countries committed to prioritize progress for those furthest behind, end poverty, hunger and discrimination and tackle climate change.

However, according to the 2021 UN Sustainable Development Goals Report, the world was off-track from achieving the SDGs even before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 only exacerbated our worsening position. Although progress has been made in poverty reduction, maternal and child health, access to electricity, and gender equality globally, the pace of progress is not enough to achieve the Goals by 2030. In other vital areas, including reducing inequality, lowering carbon emissions and tackling hunger, progress has either stalled or reversed.

 It is abundantly clear that much more action is needed, from every one of us.

The 2022 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report demonstrates that volunteers are important in helping us accelerate progress towards the achievement of the SDGs. The Report findings show different pathways for leveraging volunteers’ invaluable expertise, knowledge and experiences for development, and attainment of the SDGs.

Volunteerism gives a voice to everyone to contribute their own solutions to their development challenges. It enables people to move from being mere recipients of development to being co-partners in development.

 By involving people in tackling their own problems, development solutions become much more long-lasting and impactful.

More importantly, volunteering directly positively impacts people in need, who may have been left behind by the pace of globalization or who may be socio-economically disadvantaged due to several factors such as geographic location or gender biases.

In Kenya, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we recruited 50 United Nations Volunteer health workers and deployed them to 14 counties to directly support the Kenya Government Covid 19 response efforts. This was made possible through collaboration between the Kenyan government, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNDP, UNICEF and UN Women. Other volunteers were directly recruited into the National Joint Covid 19 Response Programme and embedded in the Ministry of Health and other core Government institutions.

These volunteers played very critical roles in enhancing county healthcare capacities, building the resilience of vulnerable populations, communicating about Covid-19 and promoting healthy community practice and behaviour change.

 Borrowing lessons from our past experiences in engaging volunteers in the delivery of our programmes at UNDP Kenya, greater collaboration has been fostered with UNV in the development of the UNDP Kenya 2022-2026 Country Programme Document to integrate volunteerism and innovation towards tackling the complex challenges of governance, resilience, and service delivery in Kenya.

The findings and recommendations from 2022 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report are therefore very timely. Issues of social innovation, co-production and deliberative governance that are highlighted in the Report are integral to the strategic development interventions proposed in our new UNDP Kenya 2022-2026 Country Programme Document.

 We therefore look forward to working closely with all stakeholders towards promoting greater ownership of the development agenda in Kenya by integrating volunteering into national, sectoral and local plans and processes.

As I conclude, let share with you an important reminder from Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General: “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.”

 

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