International Volunteer Day 2021

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International Volunteer Day 2021

  • Every year, the world observes International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on 5 December to recognise and promote the contributions of volunteers around the world.
  • The day celebrates the work of volunteers, at the local, national and international levels, towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Also known as International Volunteer Day (IVD), the occasion is marked by both individual volunteers and organisations.

History of day

  • The UN General Assembly invited countries to observe IVD in 1985 under resolution 40/212 .
  • It also urged the governments to take necessary steps to spread awareness about the importance of volunteer services and encourage more people to offer their services as volunteers.
  • On 20 November 1997, the UNGA proclaimed 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) under its resolution 52/17 to facilitate the work of volunteers and promote volunteerism.

Benefits of volunteering

  • Research shows that — compared with people who never volunteered — the odds of being “very happy” rose by seven percent among those who volunteer monthly and by 12 percent among those who volunteer every two-four weeks.
  • Volunteering also helps keep people develop a solid support system and stay in regular contact with others. This mitigates the risk of social isolation, stress and depression in many volunteers.

Significance of day

  • As per the United Nations website, International Volunteer Day provides an opportunity for people to promote volunteerism across the world.
  • IVD encourages individual volunteers, organisations, and communities to boost their contributions towards the development and betterment of the world at both the grassroots and international levels.
  • The day is also observed by civil societies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector.
  • About 70 percent of volunteer work happens informally between people and communities and does not involve any organisation.


  • This year the theme for the day is ""Volunteer now for our common future"".
  • It seeks to inspire people to work for the betterment of the planet.
  • The United Nations Volunteer Program (UNV) coordinates the IVD programme each year to recognise the work being done by volunteers across the world.