The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. We work with partners to integrate qualified, highly motivated and well supported UN Volunteers into development programming and promote the value and global recognition of volunteerism.
The United Nations General Assembly created UNV in 1970, with an initial mandate to provide qualified and motivated volunteers for the United Nations System in support of peace and development in operational countries.
Over nearly five decades, the scope of UNV’s mandate has expanded, driven by a constantly changing global environment and wider recognition of the value of volunteerism. A series of UN decisions now direct UNV activities and results to also focus on youth engagement and on demonstrating how integrating volunteering in peace and development projects and programmes can widen and deepen impact.
UNV is active in around 130 countries every year. With Field Presences in over 80 countries, UNV is represented worldwide. UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and reports to the UNDP Executive Board.
Our Dual mission
UNV works under a dual mandate – to mobilize volunteers for the United Nations System and to advocate for the importance of volunteerism in development worldwide.
UNV enjoys a unique global mandate to promote volunteerism for development, and has done so since 1970.
UNV champions environments in which volunteerism can flourish. It pushes for the ability and right of people to participate in their own development. By integrating volunteers into the objectives and activities of partner organizations, local and national ownership of growth and transformation processes is fortified.
We mobilize volunteers to serve in UN agencies, both in development programmes and peacekeeping operations.
All around the world, UN Volunteers help people lead more productive and fulfilling lives, such as through their work on projects in quality education and improved healthcare, or by ensuring equitable access to community resources and sustainable practices. UN Volunteers at times also work with governments and other local partners, helping to boost local capacity and augment knowledge.
In addition, UN Volunteers are frequently at the forefront of United Nations humanitarian and peacekeeping operations because of their skills and expertise, but also because of the commitment they bring to peace and recovery processes. As non-threatening global citizens, UN Volunteers greatly facilitate the building of bridges between various groups by promoting dialogue and fostering situations of confidence and trust.