A Rights-Based approach on Volunteering

“Volunteering is a right, not a privilege. A rights-based approach towards volunteering must be put in place in order to ensure quality, recognition, protection and equal access for everyone, without any kind of discrimination”

This is one of the key concepts of the “Declaration on the Need of a rights-based approach towards Volunteering”, approved as a final conclusion of the Stakeholder Conference “The Rights of the Volunteer”. The conference was organised by the European Youth Forum – YFJ on 7th and 8th of September in the frame of the II Youth Convention on Volunteering. This was the first step towards the ““Charter on the Rights and Responsibilities of the Volunteers”” that will be presented for approval at the next Council of Members of the European Youth Forum in November.”

More than 70 Stakeholders contributed to this Stakeholder Conference to bring up the topic of Volunteering, in the frame of the European Year of Volunteering promoted by the European Commission in 2011: “Volunteering promotes solidarity and social inclusion. It’s a benefit for the society as a whole” has been the comment of Jan Truszczynski, Director General Education and Culture at the European Commission, that welcomed the initiative and strongly supported it.

The Stakeholders had also the possibility to meet relevant authorities supporting the works, as Ms Flavia Pansieri, Head of United Nation Volunteers, or Ms Isabelle Durant, Vice-President of the European Parliament.

The clear message that all the Stakeholders agreed upon is that, quoting Ms Flavia Pansieri, “life is more than increasing GDP”: as the Declaration clearly states, one of the biggest challenge our society needs to overcome is the “lack of awareness about the social and economic value that volunteering adds to society”.

AEGEE – the European Students’ Forum, representing young volunteers from different countries working together on cross-borders activities to promote co-operation and integration in Europe, fully supports the Declaration as a valid tool to promote a rights-based approach on Volunteering.