UN Declares 2026 as International Year of Volunteers for Sustainable Development on Kazakhstan’s Initiative

On December 19th, the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan announced that the United Nations General Assembly had adopted a resolution declaring 2026 as the International Year of Volunteers for Sustainable Development. This proposal was first introduced by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in 2020.

Kazakhstan proposed the resolution in collaboration with several like-minded countries from various regions, including Armenia, Bolivia, Germany, Kenya, and Kiribati. In total, 54 UN member states joined the co-sponsorship of the document.

The activities planned throughout the International Year are expected to significantly boost volunteer movements at national, regional, and global levels. They aim to further strengthen international cooperation on volunteering and shape key directions for future development.

President Tokayev places significant emphasis on the development of volunteering in Kazakhstan, considering it a crucial component in building a “Just Kazakhstan”. According to the President, volunteers play an exceptional role in strengthening a reliable partnership between the state and society.

In line with the Head of State’s initiative, 2020 was declared as the Year of the Volunteer in Kazakhstan, and a Road Map for the Development of Volunteering in Kazakhstan for 2021-2023 was adopted. As a result of these measures, the number of volunteers in the country has surged to 200,000 people. Additionally, Kazakhstani youth serve as UN volunteers in several countries.

On July 20-21, 2023, Astana hosted the International Volunteer Forum with the participation of the Head of State, senior UN representatives, and volunteers from over 30 countries. This event underscored Kazakhstan’s significant role in the global volunteer movement.

Stephen M. Bland

Stephen M. Bland

 Stephen M. Bland is a journalist, author, editor, commentator and researcher specialising in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Prior to joining The Times of Central Asia, he has worked for NGOs, think tanks, as the Central Asia expert on a forthcoming documentary series, for the BBC, The Diplomat, EurasiaNet, and numerous other publications.
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Published in 2016, his book on Central Asia was the winner of the Golden Laureate of Eurasian Literature. He is currently putting the finishing touches to a book about the Caucasus.
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www.stephenmbland.com

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