2016 News

Bonn meeting focuses on building community resilience

Benjamin Lough, PhD, faculty director of International Service for the Center for Social Development (CSD), presented at the Conference for International Volunteer Cooperation Organizations this month at the United Nations Campus in Bonn, Germany. 

The conference theme was increasing the resilience of communities through volunteering.

A key focus was on how volunteers can help communities adapt to shocks and stresses through improved management of disaster risks and the mitigation of climate change. The conference followed a recent scholarly focus on volunteering as a “means of implementation” to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr. Lough presented findings from the study “Global Partners for Sustainable Development: The Added Value of Singapore International Foundation Volunteers,” which suggest that international volunteering is particularly well-suited to achieve capacity-building and partnership-building aspirations. He also presented initial findings from the project “Effective Practices in International Volunteering,” funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and based on survey responses from nearly 300 partner organizations in 68 countries.

The conference was organized in partnership by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum). Since 2014, CSD has been a member of Forum, which aims to understand the value of volunteering for development through policy engagement, mutual learning and the sharing of innovative and effective practices.

The focus on resilience will also be the theme of the United Nations 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report, in which Dr. Lough has been involved with the UNV program.