Calling All Volunteers! The UN Wants You to Build Peace

The UN just passed a resolution that’s bringing volunteers into the spotlight for the first time ever.


United Nations flags

(Andrew F. Kazmierski /

The concept of peacebuilding typically evokes images of powerful leaders seated around a circular table, nations engaged in a verbal tennis match of negotiations, assemblies gathered in a large hall discussing the future of our world.

But now peacebuilding is moving into the hands of individuals with the United Nation’s new resolution that was passed on November 26, 2015. Titled “Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the plan of action for the next decade and beyond,” the resolution acknowledges the role of volunteers in poverty reduction, sustainable development, health, humanitarian action, and, of course, peacebuilding. What’s more, the UN is recognizing that volunteers are a powerful tool when it comes to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which “seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.”

This is a big win for volunteers since this is the first time volunteer-involving organizations, such as the International Forum for Volunteering in Development and the International Association for Volunteer Effort, are explicitly mentioned in a UN Resolution. This move towards multi-stakeholder engagement at the global and national level invites young people especially to contribute to peaceful and inclusive societies – plus there’s that added benefit of personal development.

Most importantly, integrating volunteerism into the international peacebuilding process acknowledges that peacebuilding is no longer limited to nations, government, or leaders - but now includes individuals.

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