International Volunteer Day | 5 December 2017

Volunteers act first. Here. Everywhere.






International Volunteer Day is celebrated worldwide on 5 December , in recognition of the positive solidarity of volunteers around the world who answer calls in times of crisis, helping save lives today and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow. #VolunteersActFirst #IVD2017


For a full suite of resources, including the IVD logo, posters, banners, web graphics and examples for social media, in the six UN official languages, click here.


Instability is frequent and intense for hundreds of millions of people around the world. In both developing and industrialised countries, political and armed conflicts, poverty, hunger, health crises, natural disasters and now climate change, all contribute to an increasing number of people living in unstable environments. Throughout history, collective action was needed to answer the urgent call of such tragedies—saving lives today and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow.

Volunteers are often the first to offer support in times of natural disasters, economic instability, forced migration or humanitarian emergencies. Everywhere in the world, volunteers provide assistance to people and whole communities being pushed to the brink. Volunteers, often members of affected communities, help people to rebuild their lives in the immediate aftershock of a tragic event. Through their ongoing support, volunteers also help people and communities be better prepared to face uncertainty in the future.

Estimates suggest that there are a billion people in the world who volunteer each year. Those numbers always go up when tragedy strikes. Despite their contributions, the vital role of volunteers is not always sufficiently recognised or acknowledged. As clearly stated at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, “Volunteers are a practical example of the solidarity that binds the world together. There is scope for scaling up volunteering programmes through, for example, supportive national legislation and work place policies, and increased investment.” This year, we give recognition to the role of volunteers as first responders so that we may demonstrate the value of this stated scope.