On November 28, 2018 at the open session of the International Forum ‘Corporate Volunteering: Business and Society’ National Council on Corporate Volunteering and the UN Global Compact Network Russia signed an Agreement on Cooperation regarding development of volunteering for the SDGs.
Volunteering effect, its impact is what the UN has been lately taken very carefully. The Organization perceives volunteering as a mechanism, complementing traditional means to achieve global goals, facilitates involving people into activities for the good of others and the planet, strengthens civil participation, social integration, solidarity, increases scale and coherence of joint actions at local, national and global levels and forms strong constructive links despite national, ethnic, social and religious borders. The UN calls volunteering an active, deserving full recognition as a key partner is sustainable development. The Resolution 67/138 recognizes that "volunteerism is an important component of any strategy aimed at such areas as poverty reduction, sustainable development, health, education, youth empowerment, climate change, disaster risk reduction, social integration, social welfare, humanitarian action, peacebuilding and, in particular, overcoming social exclusion and discrimination."
Marina Vashukova, Executive Director of the Association ‘National Network of the Global Compact’ noted in her presentation that ‘the UN has never been as close to making volunteering one of its priorities as after the SDGs adoption. The thing is that sustainable development is about no-one being alone. The whole nature of volunteering is, thus, a mean of achieving the SDGs’.
In the near future the UN is planning to pay more attention to volunteering, so that from periphery it could move to the center of decision-making and discussing practices, to the area of public-private partnership. At the mandate of the UN General Assembly, UN Volunteers programme, for instance, has already developed a plan on integrating volunteering into policies and programmes on peace and development up to 2030. The plan is strategically aimed at strengthening the right and opportunity of people to consider development agenda its own, and not imposed from above, at integrating volunteering into national and global strategies, to foster not only communication between people, but also involving them into SDGs monitoring and measuring volunteering effects.
One of current objectives, that practitioners and researchers of volunteering face, is synchronization of developing volunteering with the SDGs, development goals of all the states. It is necessary to bring volunteering to the new level, to provide such a connection, allowing to perceive volunteering not just as socially-useful activity, but also as the one irreplaceable for sustainable socio and economic development of countries and the planet.
‘It is a new challenge for all of us – to match all the strategic approached with the SDGs and international cooperation’, commented Marina Vashukova. ‘Neither governments, nor the UN and private sector can overcome existing problems on their own. We need new partnership levels, assuming participation of people at all the levels. Volunteering can become one of the most powerful and universal means of enforcing the 2030 Agenda. We, as a Global Compact Local Network, want to concentrate on helping corporate volunteering from the SDGs perspective, for the sake of sustainable development.
On behalf of the GC Local Network the Agreement on these intentions signed Alexander Plakida, the Chair of the Board of the Association ‘National Network of the Global Compact’, who, on behalf of the council approved main cooperation goals, set in the Agreement. Key of them are development of global corporate volunteering for sustainable development in Russia, synchronization of developing corporate volunteering with the SDGs, integration of corporate volunteering to the general action plan on promoting the 2030 Agenda into national and global strategies, measuring corporate volunteering effects from the perspective of the contribution to the overall well-being of the society, development of information and analytical research projects on corporate volunteering, role and place of Russia in this process at the platform of the NCCV, contribution to forming the partnership environment of a broad stakeholder range, aimed at institutionalizing corporate volunteering in Russia for sustainable development and the SDGs.
At the same time, Global Compact Network Russia intends to introduce more diversity to the agenda of the National Council on Corporate Volunteering by providing more new opportunities to Russian business to be involved into achieving the SDGs and realize its volunteering potential for transforming the world and international cooperation for sustainable development, and also for further introducing ideas and values of sustainable development to the corporate culture of Russian business, to the life of various communities, at the same time developing our own Volunteering Corpus of the Global Compact.