During a side event held at the 2016 UNV Partnership Forum, Mr. Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and Mr. Ying Wang, Deputy Secretary General of Beijing Volunteer Service Federation (BVF), announced the new cooperation project “Strengthening China’s Involvement in the Development of International Volunteer Service through South-South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative.”
This three year project aims to strengthen engagement between Middle Income Countries (MIC) actors around volunteerism through the framework of South-South Cooperation. It will create opportunities for Chinese youth to volunteer internationally, share international experience to develop the capacities of volunteer involving organizations (VIOs), and facilitate cross-country knowledge-sharing and co-creation with strong support for joint research. The project activities will mainly take place in developing countries in the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, which is China’s flagship international development project.
Speaking at the side event Mr. Richard Dictus praised the new project, noting that it “will help to strengthen and diversify China’s strong commitment to South-South Cooperation and create opportunities for new partnerships and stronger Chinese engagement with the UN system. These outcomes will unlock untapped innovation, knowledge, and resources, while demonstrating the powerful combination of volunteering and South- South Cooperation to drive sustainable development.”
The side event at the 2016 UNV Partnership Forum was focused on “South-South cooperation through international volunteering” and co-hosted by UNV with BVF and the China Volunteer Service Federation (CVF). It is the first activity in the new UNV-BVF project and aims to build upon discussions that were begun exactly one year ago at the International Volunteer Service Exchange Conference (IVSEC) that was co-hosted by UNV and BVF in Beijing. At the Beijing conference participants from a broad range of stakeholders from 18 UN member states called on UNV to become a broker of volunteering for South-South Cooperation and create further opportunities for dialogue around topics of shared interest.
One year later in Bonn, participants in the side-event shared new experiences, discussed South-South volunteering principles, and identified opportunities for new partnerships and joint-programming. This ongoing dialogue is set to continue in 2017 with a follow-up conference as a further activity of the new UNV-BVF project.