In November 1997, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers (IYV). United Nations Volunteers (UNV) was designated as the international focal point. With its main objectives of increased recognition, facilitation, networking and promotion of volunteering, IYV provided a unique opportunity to highlight the achievements of millions of volunteers worldwide and encouraged more people to engage in volunteer activity.
The idea for IYV came out from deliberations among several major
international NGOs in the early 1990s. The concept first emerged within the
United Nations system during a Policy Forum held by UNV and United Nations
University (UNU) in
The premise underlying IYV 2001 was that voluntary service is needed more than ever to tackle problems in areas of social, economic, cultural, humanitarian and peace-building, and that more people are needed to offer their services as volunteers. For this to happen, there was a need for greater recognition and facilitation of volunteer work, more vigorous promotion of voluntary service, and drawing upon the best initiatives and efforts -- the "best practice" -- of volunteers, networked to optimise lessons learned. The designation of an International Year of Volunteers by the UN General Assembly provided a valuable framework and established a favourable environment for the growth and more strategic use of volunteer contributions.
The government of Australia archived all Australian national and regional IYV 2001 websites.
United Nations Volunteers programme have their own website.
The United Nations Volunteers in cooperation with a number of organizations have a special website: World Volunteer Web.
All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.