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Since the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) in 2001, governments, the United Nations system, civil society partners, and other stakeholders have increasing recognized that volunteerism makes significant contributions to peace and development. The General Assembly specifically recognized the importance of supportive legislative and fiscal frameworks for the growth and development of volunteerism and encouraged Governments to enact such measures. 1

UNV commissioned a global research study on “Laws and Policies Affecting Volunteerism Since 2001” to consider trends and lessons in the development of supportive volunteerism policies and legislation. An overall review was conducted in seven regions, complemented by country specific case studies in each region. This research study further analysed considerations in drafting and implementing volunteerism laws and policies and highlighted the need to tailor them to specific local, national and regional contexts. A practice-focused guidance note and the research study report are the products of the research.

We were especially interested to see that more than 70 laws or policies on volunteerism have been adopted in the decade since the International Year of Volunteers in 2001. UNV will continue to work with national governments to expand, update and deepen legislation on volunteering in the next ten years and beyond. This 'Drafting and Implementing Volunteerism Laws and Policies: A Guidance Note' will provide an initial input to these processes.

As we mark the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10) in 2011, we are pleased to share the lessons from this research through this new UNV guidance note. This guidance note will be shared with governments, UN, civil society, and other partners to strengthen the support to volunteerism and help realize its potential for accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as ongoing inclusive growth.

UNV thanks the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) for leading the research.

The research and guidance note was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Flavia Pansieri Executive Coordinator United Nations Volunteers


A/RES/63/153 Follow-up to the implementation of the International Year of Volunteers, 18 December 2008


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