GURT conducted National Consultations on the International Volunteer Day: media report

On December 5, 2015, the International Volunteer Day, National consultations called “How CSOs can contribute to implementation of Sustainable Development Goals?«were carried out. The event was initiated by the United Nations in Ukraine, UN Volunteers and GURT Resource Centre.

The consultations were held simultaneously in 11 oblast centers – Vinnytsia, Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Kramatorsk, Lviv, Odesa, Poltava, Severodonetsk, Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Chernihiv. The event aimed to raise CSO leaders’ awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals implementation, and to provide to the UN and the Government of Ukraine a public opinion upon the process of the Sustainable Development Goals nationalization.

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The event was opened by Voitek Hledik, UN Volunteer Programme Officer in Ukraine: “Every year on the 5th December we celebrate the International Volunteer Day. On this day we recognize the huge importance of volunteers for peace and development and a positive change volunteers from all over the world bring to the society. This year the UN Secretary-General described volunteerism as a global phenomenon that abolishes boundaries, religions and cultural differences. Volunteers possess the fundamental values of commitment, inclusiveness, engagement and a sense of solidarity. You all know better than me, how important volunteerism has been for Ukraine in the past few years. Today we need to talk about one to make sure it is part of Ukraine’s future”.

“I don’t want to speak about how the UN see your future, but I would like to know how you see it. Approximately 1 million votes were took into account in the process of defining 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The UN volunteers have met with people even from the farthest places on the planet. It is a pleasure to realize that civil society leaders have organized panel discussion to talk about these goals. Although the government is a leader in Sustainable Development Goals decision making, the participation of international, non-governmental and volunteer organizations is an important part of the implementation process. Within next 2 years I will participate in various consultations focused on the Goals achievement on the highest level, still the first consultation of such a kind is here, right at this moment together with you and other 10 cities in Ukraine. We hope that you will advise us which needs are the most essential on the local level all over the country”, said Neal Walker, UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, who has also joined the event opening.

“I would like to congratulate everyone who is present here on the International Volunteer Day. Especially I congratulate GURT volunteers, because without them we wouldn’t be able to serve effectively as the largest network of non-governmental and charitable organizations and community leaders. Contribution of the volunteers to the development of our country is so vast that it can be hardly overestimated”, said Bohdan Maslych, Executive director of GURT Resource Centre. 

After official opening of the national consultations the participants started to define the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the world cafe format, which was facilitated by Bohdan Maslych, Executive Director, and
Mariana Zaviyska, Program Manager of GURT Resource Centre.

During three sessions participants were proposed to define which three points of SDGs are the most important for Ukraine and the reason why it is so; to define what SDGs have already been done and what should be done to implement these goals.

“Having discussed the proposed questions participants had to present their own conclusions to a broad audience. The first team highlighted the importance of point #4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; #11 Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; #8 Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. “What concerns quality education — we chose it as our priority because modern education is not up-to-date. The OGSs already work on inclusive education of all people — especially the youth, devise the legislative base, create independent institutions, provide opportunities for sharing experience”, said Anatoliі Zasoba, head of NGO “Crimean diaspora”. Presentation of the group you can find in the video.

The second team pointed out the most important goals #7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; #9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; #16 Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. For more opinions on the current  implementaion process and what should SDGs do to fulfil these three Sustainable Development Goals please watch the video.

The third and the fouth team considered as the most important such goals as #3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; #8 Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all; and #16 Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. The ideas and propositions of these two teams you can find in the video.

The participants of the national consultations “How CSOs can contribute to implementation of Sustainable Development Goals?” in Kyiv, the top-priority goals to Ukraine turned out to be #3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; #8 Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all; and #16 Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

“Firstly, we found out that within the SDGs we were talking about, there is a space to satisfy the needs of different stakeholders. Secondly, we shared our experience of the things we are currently doing in order to implement our most important goals. Thirdly, we wrote down the plan — what should we do to make this theme more actual to Ukraine. For me personally the most important goals are economic development of small and medium-sized businesses, so I will work on this sphere”, shared his impression on the event Roman Brytanchuk, Head of “Let’s do it, Ukraine” initiative.

“I’m glad we have held national consultations on the International Volunteer Day. This is the first time the UN conducted consultations on implementation of SDGs in Ukraine. In my opinion by doing this we show how important is the contribution of OGSs and how much we value their participation in the process of consultaion and localization of SDGs in Ukraine”, summarized Voitek Hledik, UN Volunteers Programme Officer in Ukraine. The full comment of Voitek Hledik in English you can find in the video.

Media reports from regional co-organizers:

GURT Resource Centre, national centre of societal expertise, for 20 years has been actively involved in developing efficiency standards among civil society and contributing to the CSO impact for social change in Ukraine. In 2010 GURT initiated and conducted the National Consultation on the effectiveness of CSOs, which was attended by representatives of national and regional CSOs, donor institutions and corporate funds from Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Rivne, Cherkassy and experts of the European platform CONCORD. Based on the results of the consultations the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness were developed.

PhotoSerhii Grachev

Translated by Pavlo Shyba

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