Ankara, Turkey: volunteer organizations from across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States gathered in the Turkish capital to explore ways of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10) and beating poverty through citizen action.
Civil society and voluntary organizations are key players pushing for progress, and tapping this vast resource could be a major step towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Volunteering organizations and government delegates are therefore gathering in Ankara as part of a series of get-togethers aimed at paving the way for a World Volunteer Coalition. The meeting was facilitated by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, and a number of national and global organizations are working together on common objectives. As an active member of the International Coalition for the follow-up of the International Year of Volunteers, ICVolunteers is participating in these efforts, making the link between the International Symposium on Volunteering 2001, closing event of IYV 2001 facilitated by the organization in 2001 and which brought together 123 national committees and the state of the volunteer 10 years later.
The Ankara meeting aims to start shifting the development debate to the regions, and will be followed in May by consultations for Asia and Africa in the Philippines and Senegal. The first such meeting took place in Quito, Ecuador, during April.
Delegates at each regional conference are invited to formulate recommendations on volunteering for peace and development. Bringing together the diverse range of organizations will also give them the chance to share a multitude of ideas and experiences, while strengthening partnerships and synergies.
The meeting in Ankara from 18-19 April brings together representatives from across the non-profit sector, from national civil society organizations to government ministries.
Turkey was chosen as the conference venue due to its unique position as a bridge between continents. As well as the host nation, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Yemen are all represented along with a presence from the European Volunteer Centre under the auspices of the European Year of Volunteering.
A global volunteering conference organized by UNV, the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies follows in Budapest during September 2011, and may cement the establishment of a world coalition of volunteering organizations that will speak with one voice. A United Nations General Assembly session during December 2011 will also be dedicated to volunteering.
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