Intro: International Voluntary Service and Sustainability (Preview)

In November 2014, the Alliance General Assembly has approved Alliance Sustainability Policy Paper. The following excerpt comes from this policy paper.

Volunteering is about action and service; it is about active citizenship, social cohesion, partnership and relationships. The effect of volunteering across many areas of people’s lives, and on local, national and global development can be transformational. It may, furthermore, suggest alternative models of economic, environmental and social development.

Every year around 18.000 volunteers participating in over 2000 local development projects are exchanged within the network of Alliance. Additionally, the Alliance meetings organised throughout the year gather around 400 participants from more than 80 national voluntary service organisations, from more than 40 countries. It is our responsibility to make our actions contribute to sustainable development of communities.

Alliance recognizes sustainability as a key element of its strategic approach and plan of action. In this framework, workcamps help building a conscious relationship between communities and the surrounding environment and nature. They are conceived as a chance to raise awareness about sustainable good practices among all the actors involved in our projects: volunteers, local communities and administrative councils. Mobility, lodging and food are three of the main aspects of sustainability in IVS.

Furthermore, members of Alliance agree to adopt a wider and longer vision: our actions inspire and encourage people to engage in shaping, implementing and monitoring a truly sustainable development agenda for the future, one that is characterised by human rights, environmental responsibility, inclusive development, fair and democratic governance, freedom of movement, peace, well-being, and the fight against inequalities.

Volunteerism continues to play a key role in contributing to sustainable development and Alliance takes up the challenge to enhance and lead this process. In international platforms where Alliance is partner, like the European Youth Forum, the network will also promote environmental sustainability since the right to live in a healthy environment must be considered and presented as one of the main human rights that lead to peace and democracy.

Lesson tags: Alliance, IVS, sustainability
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